A THUG has been jailed for raining punches down on a taxi driver and opening the door of the cab while he and his girlfriend were travelling along the motorway at 70 miles per hour.

Graeme Cox set upon Patrick Ponsonby while travelling in his cab between Johnstone and Renfrew on May 12.

He repeatedly punched Mr Ponsonby while being driven along the motorway, grabbed him by the neck and repeatedly opened the rear door of the taxi.

The details emerged this week when Cox, 30, appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court to be sentenced.

Procurator Fiscal Depute Colin Wilson told the court the attack happened in the early hours of the morning after Cox and Ms McWilliams left a family function in Johnstone.

The prosecutor said: “The accused was observed to be under the influence of alcohol to such a degree the taxi driver initially refused to allow him to travel but, after speaking to Ms McWilliams, was more relaxed about taking them. The accused immediately fell out with the driver, saying he had already paid for the taxi.

“He took an aggressive stance and started shouting in the face of Mr Ponsonby and his partner had to tell the accused to calm down and apologised to the the driver.”

As the cab passed along the A737 and M8, heading for Renfrew, Cox began shouting again and asked the driver what he was going to do about his behaviour.

Mr Wilson added: “He thereafter punched the taxi driver to the left side of his head causing the driver to alter his driving position. The accused then grabbed the driver by the neck.

“The taxi was travelling at approximately 70-miles per hour at this time and McWilliams was shouting, ‘You’re going to kill us all’.”

Cox then slapped Ms McWilliams before throwing the back door of the cab open.

The drama ended when Mr Ponsonby reached Renfrew and Cox went back to Ms McWilliams’ home in Ard Road, where a neighbour saw him stamp on her.

Defence solicitor Kevin Brady said Cox knew he faced jail, but he asked for leniency, saying Cox, a railway worker, could pay substantial compensation to the driver.

But Sheriff Susan Sinclair caged him for eight months, backdated to May 14, when he was first remanded.