A TAXI driver was spared jail despite clipping a passenger and driving off, leaving the man lying on the floor bleeding.

Adrian Kellett, 38, of Cherry Road, Boughton dropped off two men outside the Piper Pub, Hoole, last December.

One of the men went round the front of the car where he was hit by Kellett as he drove off, Chester Magistrates Court heard.

There was ‘bad feeling’ between the driver, who worked for the city-centre firm Abbey Taxis, and his passengers.

The court heard there was some confusion as to where the men wanted to go.

Howard Jones, defending, said: “Kellett agreed to take the fare and was told to go to The Peacock pub.”

However the men started swearing at Kellett, asking him where he was taking them and saying they wanted to go to the Piper Pub in Hoole

When he reached the Piper pub, the passengers got out of the car.

“There was bad feeling and that is accepted,” said Mr Jones.

After Kellett hit the victim, the man fell to the floor and was taken to hospital.

Catherine Whincup, prosecuting, said: “There was blood streaming down his face. He had to be helped up by witnesses. He had cuts to his left eyebrow and bruising to his right leg and chest.”

Mr Jones said: “ Kellett didn’t realise the seriousness of what had gone wrong.”

Kellett returned to Abbey Taxis 45 minutes later when his partner, who also works for the firm, called him in saying the police had been enquiring about the matter.

Kellett admitted driving without due care and attention and failing to stop after an accident.

District Judge Sanders said: “This was a nasty incident, not least of which because knowing you had hit someone and knowing they had fallen to the ground, you drove off.

“It is a serious offence. Your guilty plea has saved you from the possibility of a custodial sentence.”

Kellett was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay £500 in costs, given 10 penalty points on his driving licence and disqualified from driving for six months.