Taxi driver who had nose op to cure snoring has it broken by drunk female passenger

A KENDAL taxi driver had a major nose operation to cure a persistent snoring problem - only to have it broken just weeks later in an alcohol-fuelled assault.

Julia Chaplin, of Storth, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court where she admitted causing actual bodily harm to Gordon Welch in an attack which left him needing an operation to repair the damage.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Welch, of High Garth, said he had broken his nose aged 15 and had suffered from heavy snoring since.

In July this year, the 42-year-old taxi driver, who has worked for Castle Taxis for more than a year, had a rhinoplasty and septoplasty at Barrow’s Furness General Hospital in an effort to cure the problem.

“The operations straightened my nose and removed obstructions in the nasal cavity,” he said.

“It seemed to be working and my girlfriend said it was calming down.”

However, the attack left Mr Welch, who moved to Kendal seven years ago from Tyneside, needing another operation.

“I went back into the hospital four days after the attack to get it straightened again,” he said.

“I’m going to have to have a further operation because the consultants fear it has left lasting damage and affected the healing process of the original operation.

“When I moved to Kendal I thought the crime rate was low and this type of thing would not happen. It’s ironic and I was completely stunned when she hit me.”

The court heard that the 38-year-old hailed Mr Welch’s cab to take her home after a works night out in Kendal on August 10.

He took her to a cash machine so she could get money to pay the £37 fare, but when she was unable to do so he told her it was company policy to take her back to where she had started, said prosecutor Becky McGregor.

On the way back into town Chaplin, a technical sales manager at Kendal-based Gilkes engineering, hit the driver in the face, breaking his nose and making it bleed, the court heard.

In mitigation defence barrister Tim Evans said that Chaplin had ‘taken more drink than was good for her’, which was probably why she could not make the cash machine work.

He said there was no suggestion that she had been trying to con Mr Welch or get away without paying and panicked when Mr Welch started driving her away.

Mr Evans said the incident was ‘utterly out of character’ and Chaplin was ‘deeply ashamed and embarrassed’.

She was ordered to pay Mr Welch £2,500 compensation, with £150 court costs.

She must also carry out 120 hours unpaid community work.


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