Man jailed for scaring taxi driver to death


Karen Ferguson leaves court with her son. Picture: Sharon Smith
Karen Ferguson leaves court with her son. Picture: Sharon Smith

A DRUG fuelled taxi passenger who literally scared the driver to death during a terrifying final journey has been jailed for 12 years.

Lindsay Ferguson, 67, died of a heart attack after his taxi collided with a truck on Rouse Road in April 2013.

Despite Mr Ferguson having no serious injuries, and his cause of death later being confirmed as a cardiac arrest brought about by an undiagnosed heart problem, Grant Lindon Collard, 48, was initially convicted of murder.

Mandurah taxi driver Lindsay Ferguson.

However, that murder conviction was overturned on appeal last year – and Collard then pleaded guilty to manslaughter, as well as being convicted of two counts of kidnapping.

Today, on Collard’s 50th birthday, he was jailed again by WA Supreme Court judge Stephen Hall, who said Collard had shown little remorse for his actions.

“You terrorised Mr Ferguson and held him captive … your actions were so extreme that he had a heart attack and died,” Justice Hall said.

Today, and earlier, Collard was revealed as long-time sufferer of mental illness and drug addict who had consistently failed to address his substance abuse.

The court was told Collard still posed a considerable ongoing risk to the public, given his long history of crime and drug use.

Prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo described how Mr Collard had jumped into Mr Ferguson’s taxi with three acquaintances, having previously been to a bank to collect his pension money.

Witnesses had already seen Mr Collard swearing and spitting at strangers on the street, and when he got inside the cab, his behaviour escalated out of control.

During a terrifying 30-minute journey, Mr Collard produced a knife and brandished it at the driver, while stabbing the seat, the dashboard and the gear stick.

He also injected drugs while in the cab, spat and flicked a cigarette at Mr Ferguson, smashed his radio, ripped a cup holder off the centre console – and then prevented him from leaving when he tried to escape.

Mr Collard’s acquaintances were so scared by his behaviour they ran away from the cab themselves, and called police to help the driver.

But Ms Barbagllo said before they got there, Mr Ferguson, who was well known in Mandurah for his assistance of disabled passengers, suffered a massive heart attack, and the cab subsequently careered into a truck.

Doctors confirmed the stressful journey had prompted Mr Ferguson’s cardiac arrest, and a jury took just two hours to agree.

Paramedics were unable to save the 67 year-old – with witnesses saying that Mr Collard had also spat at him while he was lying unconscious.

Mr Collard was also convicted of kidnapping another woman, Deborah Tippett, who was working at a mining business near where the cab crashed.

He burst into the office, demanding a lift home and then threatening Ms Tippett with a knife.

Collard was already serving a nie-year sentence for the kidnapping offences.

Today, Justice Hall increased Collard’s total jail term to 12 years, backdated to 2013. He will be eligible for parole.



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