A YOUNG woman "freaked out" and attacked a taxi driver who had locked her in his cab, a court heard.

Deryn Longhurst and her brother Damian called a taxi to pick them up from outside The One Bar in Botley Road after having a few drinks on Friday, February 5.

The court heard how the pair, both of Queens Close, Botley, were arguing in the back of Faisal Munir's taxi after he had picked them up.

Prosecutor Clare Barclay told Oxford Magistrates' Court on Monday how while Mr Munir drove the pair to an address in Botley, their argument started to get heated.

She said Mr Munir tried to intervene in the squabble, but 24-year-old Damian Longhurst assaulted him.

Ms Barclay added: "Mr Munir was slowing down his taxi, but as he did so Damian Longhurst grabbed hold of his collar and was pushing him.

"Mr Munir pulled over and stopped, he got out the car and called the police."

The court heard how Deryn Longhurst stayed in the cab while her brother got out the taxi and walked off down Botley Road.

Ms Barclay said while waiting for the police to arrive, Mr Munir locked the cab with 21-year-old Deryn Longhurst inside, but the she tried to jump into the front seat and drive it off.

After being released from the vehicle, the young woman attacked and racially abused Mr Munir.

Ms Barclay added: "She punched him to the face, causing bruising to his forehead.

"She then got out and racially abused him.

"She assaulted him again by pushing him, then walked off."

Damien Longhurst admitted common assault while his sister admitted racially aggravated common assault as well as four counts of stealing from a Boots store in Swindon in September last year.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Munir said he was shocked by the racial abuse and no longer feels safe at work.

He added: "I was so disgusted and upset that she thought she could speak to me in that way.

"I was so very scared that night."

He said the incident had cost him three hours' work as well as the group racking up a £40 fare they did not pay.

Sean Reilly, defending, said the incident had been a misunderstanding between the siblings and the driver.

He said Damian Longhurst had thought the taxi driver was reaching into the back seat to attack his sister, not stop the argument and that was why he had grabbed Mr Munir's collar.

Mr Reilly said Deryn Longhurst had "freaked out" at being locked in the taxi and added: "That was what shocked Deryn Longhurst and she was very scared she was being locked in the car.

"She says she is not a racist person, she freaked out and got very angry very quickly."

Magistrates fined Damian Longhurst £200 and ordered him to pay Mr Munir £170 compensation.

His sister was handed a community order with a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £270 compensation to Mr Munir.