A new father tried to dodge paying a taxi journey to hospital to see his new baby – by lying to the driver that the infant had died, a court heard.
Marcus Simmonds admitted failing to pay the cab fare at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Friday, when he was also ordered to pay more than £1,400 in compensation for a separate string of criminal damage offences.
The court heard he used a hammer to smash windows on six cars parked in Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital car park on the day he attended the hospital for a mental health assessment.
He also caused more than £950 worth of damage at a hostel in Park Road, Hunstanton, before committing the taxi offence a few days later.
Simmonds, 32, of Jarvis Road, Lynn, admitted causing criminal damage at the hospital car park on February 28 and at the hostel owned by Genesis Housing Association on March 26, at a hearing last month. He was bailed to appear for sentence on Friday, when he also admitted making off without the taxi payment.
Jane Foster, prosecuting, said during Simmonds’ mental health assessment at the hospital, he told his practitioner that he had recently smashed the windows of cars parked in Hunstanton and Lynn.
Then, when damage caused to cars at the hospital came to light later that day, the practitioner reported the matter to police and Simmonds was arrested.
He caused damage to six vehicles, including five private cars and one owned by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Mrs Foster said Simmonds was caught going on the rampage at the hostel on CCTV.
She said: “On March 26 at 11pm the defendant went to the hostel where he was staying at the time and found it was closed and locked.
“He caused damage to the door and lock and key pad and smashed a window in the inner porch.”
Regarding the taxi incident, she said a taxi picked Simmonds up from East Rudham at 11.30am and took him to the QEH, where his partner had just given birth.
On arrival, Simmonds gave the driver £10 towards the £27.50 fare and told him to wait while he went and saw his partner and got the rest of the money.
“The driver waited for an hour and by the time Simmonds came back the fare had risen to £39.50. The defendant told the driver the baby had died and he didn’t have any money,” said Mrs Foster.
The pair had an argument, and the driver left. He gave a description of Simmonds to police and they were able to identify him from a tattoo.
Mrs Foster also said there were no infant deaths at the QEH at the time in question.
Alison Muir, representing Simmonds, said he was having problems with his medication at the time of the offences.
She told the court: “Whilst not an excuse, in that period of time his medication had been up for review. The review had been diarised but his medication had been stopped beforehand. He knew it was going to cause a problem for him, so he tried to self-medicate and acted in the way that he did.
“Any time of difficulty with his medication makes him more vulnerable to offend. He is back on medication now and feels much better as a result.”
Simmonds was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement, with a £60 victim surcharge.
He was also ordered to pay compensation totalling £515 to the car owners, £953.70 to Genesis Housing Association and £29.50 to the taxi driver.