Taxi driver needed stitches in his head after being hit with a stick by a physicist desperate to get to the opera
An opera lover beat a cabbie over the head with his ornate walking stick and swore at him because he feared he would miss a performance of Puccini.
Peter Williamson, a retired doctor, swore at the cab driver as he shouted at him and asked where they were going because he feared he would be late for the open air show in Holland Park, west London.
The physicist, who is a fellow with the Royal Institution, was turfed out of the taxi after launching a tirade of abuse at driver Kevin Johnson.
After dropping Williamson at a cash point on Kensington High Street, Mr Johnson saw Williamson walk past the machine, so climbed out of the car to point him in the right direction.
But Williamson raised his stick above his head and struck his head with the handle, leaving him bleeding and needing stiches.
At a hearing at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court Williamson admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The court heard he had been keen to see a performance of one of Puccini’s lesser known works, ‘The Girl of the Golden West.’
Helen Clutton, prosecuting said the taxi driver had collected Williamson in Wimbledon in south London on January 17 after he flagged him down in the street.
He said he needed to stop for cash, but had become irate by the time the cab had reached Warwick Road near Earls Court.
Ms Clutton said: “He shouted at the victim ‘where are we you f*****g c***’ and demanded ‘Where are you f*****g taking me.
“The victim could not understand why Dr Williamson was getting so irate and wanted to get him out of the taxi as soon as possible.”
Mr Johnson pulled over in Kensington High Street and got out of the car to ensure Williamson made it to the cash point.
Ms Clutton said: “They got almost parallel with the cashpoint machine and the victim turned around to check Dr Williamson was coming with him.
“Dr Williamson lifted his walking stick straight over his right shoulder and struck his victim over the head.
“It was similar to a hammer hitting a nail.”
Williamson is said to have struck him twice with the ornate heavy handle of his walking stick in the ‘repeated assault’.
Mr Johnson suffered a two inch wound and had to have two stitches after the unprovoked attack.
District Judge Denis Brennan noted the defendant’s good character but said he was still ‘at risk of a custodial sentence’.
The hearing was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared in advance of sentencing on September 18.