A 22-YEAR-old woman with a drink problem racially abused a taxi driver in a “pathetic drunken tantrum”, a court heard.

Sara Cox, of Ringway, Waverton, was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay £689.35 at Chester Magistrates’ Court.

Cox, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to all charges, including a racially aggravated assault and criminal damage in respect of an incident which happened at 6.35pm on September 17.

The court heard how Cox slapped an Asian taxi driver and shouted a racially abusive insult at him when he ordered her to leave his cab because she was drunk.

Sarah Grey, prosecuting, said: “After he asked her where she was going, she started shouting and swearing so he stopped the taxi and ordered her to get out.

“She slapped the taxi driver across the face, knocking his glasses off and breaking them.”

During the fracas, which occurred while she was subject to a conditional discharge for an earlier offence, the aerial on the taxi was also damaged.

The second incident happened at the Spice Balti restaurant, Brook Street, Chester on October 10 when Cox was shouting, swearing and being verbally abusive towards other customers.

She slapped the manager across the face, knocking his glasses to the floor. When officers caught up with her she was so drunk she could not stand up.

Defending, Chris Hunt said that Cox was not a racist, adding: “It is quite clear that the root cause behind these incidents is her drinking. Miss Cox is effectively addicted to alcohol and it is a sad reflection of the current ‘booze culture’ that a 22-year-old woman should be in this situation. She is a well brought up young lady, who is otherwise pleasant when she is sober.

“She is deeply sorry for her actions and has since met with and apologised to the owner of Spice Balti.

“The incident with the taxi driver was a pathetic drunken tantrum and the racial insult was a compulsive and daft attempt to verbally hurt him. She is not racist.”

For the assault on the taxi driver, magistrates sentenced Cox to 13 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. She must attend a substance-related offending course to address her issues with alcohol.

For racially aggravated criminal damage, she received a 10-week suspended sentence with the same conditions, to be served concurrently.

She received 12-month community orders for both the incident at Spice Balti and for breaching the earlier conditional discharge.

A charge of drunk and disorderly from October 25, when she had banged on a number of doors along Guy Lane in Waverton at 5am, resulted in a £15 fine with £15 victim surcharge.

Cox must pay compensation of £309.35 to the taxi driver and £350 to the owner of Spice Balti.