A man who directed a taxi driver to an isolated spot and robbed him has been jailed for four years.

A crown court judge said that defendant Joel Golding had robbed the victim of his mobile phone - but that it could have been a lot worse but for the fact that the victim fought back.

Golding had demanded his takings.

At Mold Crown Court, Golding, 28, of Fron Road in Connah's Quay, denied robbing Karzan Maaroof at Wrexham, but was convicted by the jury.

The judge, Mr Greg Bull QC, said that a decent man who was working as a taxi driver had been directed to a relatively isolated and quiet area where he had been robbed of his mobile phone.

"The robbery could have been worse had he not fought back," he said.

"You demanded from him such money as he had. He put up a fight and sustained relatively minor injuries."

The judge said that he accepted that no weapon had been used but an immediate custodial sentence was called for.

Prosecuting barrister Nicholas Williams told how on March 9 last year the defendant ordered a taxi to take him from the Holiday Inn at Northop to Wrexham.

"The prosecution say that he never had any intention of paying for the journey and he had no means to do so," said Mr Williams.

When they arrived, he grabbed the driver by the throat, punched him to the face and demanded his takings.

The prosecutor said that when the driver resisted, the defendant thought better of it and jumped out of the taxi.

But he stole the driver's mobile phone as he left.

Interviewed, he answered no comment but was later picked out by the victim during an identity procedure.

Initially the defendant denied that he had been involved.

But he now maintained that while he was involved in an incident with the driver and did not pay for his fare, he denied assaulting him or stealing his mobile phone.

The court heard how the driver worked for Deeside Cabs based in Garden City.

He was originally from Iraq and spoke only some English.

When asked to take the defendant on a 17 mile journey he asked for money up front.

Golding said he did not have any money and the driver offered to take him to a cash machine.

The defendant said he did not have his wallet and that his girlfriend would pay the fare on his arrival.

Mr Williams said that the taxi driver made a judgement call and felt that as the defendant looked personable and respectful that he would trust him.

On arrival in Wrexham he was directed where to go by Golding and ended up in a dead-end.

When he stopped the taxi the defendant grabbed him by the throat with one hand and punched him to the throat with the other.

He demanded money several times but the driver bravely refused and there was a scuffle between the two of them.

The driver tried to grab his arms to stop him assaulting him.

Eventually it came to an end when the defendant jumped out of the taxi but in doing so he stole the victim's mobile phone which had been on the dashboard.

The victim returned to the taxi office and reported what had happened but he did not know who the defendant was.

But he was able to give a description, including the fact that he had a distinct tattoo on one of his wrists.

The defendant was arrested ten days later at a house in Gwersyllt near Wrexham, on suspicion of robbery.

When he was shown CCTV footage of a man leaving the hotel and getting into the taxi he denied it was him.

Golding accepted in evidence that he was the man involved in an incident with the driver.

he said he intended to leave the taxi without paying the fare and the driver tried to stop him.

Defending barrister Oliver King said that it was the defendant's case that he had not unlawfully assaulted the taxi driver or stolen the victim's mobile phone.

The defendant received a four year sentence on Thursday, June 13, but the judge made an order under The Contempt of Court Act that the case should not be publicly reported so that a second trial would not be prejudiced. But the defendant has now pleaded guilty and the second trial will not take place.