Mitchell Rhodes, 27, of no fixed abode, from Essex, was found guilty of robbery following a trial at Swindon Crown Court on 16 October 2020.
Jordan Collins, 25, of Link Road, Canvey Island, and Landen McCarthy, 32, of Silversea Drive, Westcliffe-on-Sea, had already pleaded guilty to robbery at a previous hearing.
The incident took place in Alexandra Road, Swindon at approximately 10.45pm on Sunday 1 March 2020.
The three men planned, prepared and then executed the robbery after luring a taxi to Alexandra Road, a quiet residential street in the town centre.
On arrival, a man got in the back of the taxi behind the driver’s seat and proceeded to grab the driver around the throat and pin his head back against the seat whilst holding a knife to his face. The taxi driver was threatened with the man shouting demands at him to hand over his money. Another of the men stood at the drivers door and blocked any escape route whilst the one that remained acted as the “look out”.
Approximately £40 in cash was taken from the victim who thought his throat or face was going to be slashed and he told detectives that he feared for his life.
After the robbery, two men ran off in the direction of an alleyway between Alexander Road and Corporation Street, they got into a Fiat Punto and all made their escape.
An anonymous call to Wiltshire Police led to Collins, Rhodes and McCarthy being arrested at Wat Tyler House, in Swindon, three days later. The vehicle believed to have been involved in the incident, a blue Fiat Punto, was located by officers from the Community Policing Team in the car park of The Range nearby and seized.
The officer in the case, Detective Constable Louise Kuklinski of Swindon CID then began to piece together the movements of the three men that evening and gathered vital pieces of evidence that led to Collins and McCarthy entering guilty pleas, and Rhodes being found guilty by a jury after they had heard all of the evidence gathered throughout the investigation.
Mitchell Rhodes was given a sentence of 7 years and 1 month for his part in the robbery, which the prosecuting barrister described as a “leading role”, although this was not accepted by Robert Ward QC who represented Mr Rhodes.
Landen McCarthy was handed a sentence of 5 years and 3 months, whilst Jordan Collins was sentenced to 3 years and 7 months.
Detective Constable Louise Kuklinski said: “The sentences given in this case I hope will go some way towards demonstrating that serious crime, whether it be involving the use of weapons, knives or any other violent acts will not be tolerated in Wiltshire. We will work tirelessly and without any hesitation to bring offenders who commit these serious offences to justice.
“The victim in this case was just doing his job when he was tricked into attending what he thought was a genuine call for a taxi. He was absolutely terrified, and he made it clear that throughout this vicious attack he feared for his life, thankfully he was not physically injured but I am left with no doubt that this crime will have a lasting impact upon him.”