University student shot taxi driver

A UNIVERSITY student who shot a Sheffield taxi driver in the head with pellets has been locked up for six years.

“Your victim was terrified, believing he was being shot with a real gun,” Harminder Jhakra, aged 19, was told by a judge.

Jhakra, aged 19, whom Sheffield Crown Court heard had “an impressive school record” and came from a “good and caring family”, asked the driver to take him back to his accommodation in Boston Street so he could get some money.

The Sheffield Hallam University student went inside, collected the ball bearing gun and then shot driver Mohammed Aslam with pellets.

The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Alan Goldsack QC, said: “Physically, his injuries were not life-threatening but his victim impact statement shows the effect it has had on him – life-changing in many respects, causing him to fear a similar incident every time he gets into his taxi. The physical effects could have been a lot worse – he could have lost an eye.”

Sending him to a young offenders’ institution for six years, the judge added: “Wounding with intent is always a very serious offence with only one possible sentence – a lengthy custodial one.

“Courts must do what they can to make the streets of this city free of guns and that means long sentences, even for young people of good character.”

The court heard Jhakra was of previous good character, had just become a father and was engaged to be married. As well as studying, he worked 40 hours a week for a firm of solicitors and was hoping the join the RAF. His father begged the judge not to send his son to custody.

Jhakra, originally from Leeds, moved to Sheffield in August 2009 to begin a HND course. On the night of the attack he had been out drinking with friends on Ecclesall Road and called a taxi in the early hours.

Mr Aslam told police he thought he was going to die. He managed to drive to hospital and was treated for a puncture wound to his head and bruising to his arm.

Jhakra pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.