A thug who punched, spat at and stamped on a bus driver in a ‘disgraceful demonstration of temper’ has walked free from court.
Bus driver Nigel Robinson, aged 47, was left with permanent nerve damage after he was attacked as he drove the number 120 bus between Fulwood and Crystal Peaks.
Passenger John Heinlein, aged 42, punched and stamped on him as horrified pupils were collected by parents outside Notre Dame School in Ranmoor.
A judge at Sheffield Crown Court handed Heinlein a 12-month jail term suspended for a year.
Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said Mr Robinson had stopped his bus outside Notre Dame School on November 19, 2013, when Heinlein, of Bingham Court, Fulwood, boarded.
Heinlein presented a bus pass which had been torn in half and taped back together.
Mr Robinson told him he would have to pay the fare or get off the bus.
Mr Fitch said: “He told Mr Robinson he was not paying and swore at him. He said there was nothing he could do about it and he had mental health problems.”
When Mr Robinson said he was going to call the police, Heinlein swore at him and shouted: “If you don’t take me you’re dead.”
He added: “I’m going to do you in. I’m going to kick your head in, I’ve got mental health problems.”
Mr Fitch said as the driver began to dial police on 101 Heinlein spat at him through the gap in the driver’s cab.
Mr Robinson let himself out of his cab to throw Heinlein off the bus but the defendant grabbed the driver’s tie and dragged him off the bus and on to the pavement.
Mr Fitch said: “Members of the public and parents collecting their children from school were on the pavement. One parent saw him punch the driver repeatedly in the face on the ground. Another pulled him away and saw him stamp owards Mr Robinson’s head. One of the kicks connected.”
Mr Robinson suffered cuts, bruising to his eye, cuts to his eyebrow, scratches and long-lasting nerve damage to his neck which went down through his shoulder to his knees.
He was forced to take three weeks off work but is still affected by nerve pain and his confidence has been damaged, said Mr Fitch.
The court heard Heinlein has nine previous convictions for 13 offences which included affray, wounding and causing actual bodily harm to a detention officer.
At the time of the attack he was the subject of a community order for affray after attacking a neighbour who complained he had made too much noise.
Heinlein admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Recorder Duncan Smith said he could suspend the sentence because of Heinlein’s guilty plea, a letter from his mental health nurse and the fact the case had taken 16 months to come to court.