‘He thought he would die’: Taxi driver bashed, dumped


A COUPLE who cooked up a plan over social media to dodge a cab fare have been handed jail terms after they brutally bashed the taxi driver and left him unconscious in a creek bed.

Kaylee Jean Anne Kryzkalski, 22, was boozing at the Balaclava Hotel late on November 29 last year and messaging her boyfriend Lui Samuel Richard Baragud, 23, who was at his mum's Mt Sheridan house, trying to figure out how to visit him with no cash.

Crown prosecutor Gelma Meoli told the Cairns District Court said the pair decided she would "jump a taxi" - fleeing without paying.

The court heard she asked the driver to drop her in front of a park a short distance from Baragud's house and she jumped out and ran before the driver pursued. Ms Meoli said he had a light shone in his eyes and was punched twice in the face, ending up on the ground with Baragud while Kryzkalski heeled him and threw mangoes at him.

A couple has been sentenced for bashing a Cairns taxi driver. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A couple has been sentenced for bashing a Cairns taxi driver. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE


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She said Baragud then stood up and repeatedly slammed the driver's head into the ground, knocking him unconscious, before picking him up and throwing him into a creek bed.

Meanwhile Kryzkalski went to the taxi and stole just over $84 before the pair fled.

"(The driver) crawled up the creek bed and stumbled back to his taxi," she said.

He suffered abrasions to his head, knees and hands and was treated in Cairns Hospital.

The court heard following his arrest, Baragud then tried to blame the driver for the assault, telling police he "wanted to be a f---ing hero and didn't let s--t go".

Judge Leanne Clare was handed a victim impact statement from the traumatised taxi driver. "He thought he would die," she said.

"The trauma has impaired all aspects of his life. He lives in fear."

She said taxi drivers were seen as "soft targets" as they work alone and often at night.

"This attack may not have been planned but it was a reaction to a driver who simply wanted his fare."

The court heard Baragud was a drug addict with extensive criminal history who was on bail at the time for wilful damage and break in at a youth centre. He was jailed for four years and four months and will be eligible for parole in April next year.

She was handed a three-year sentence with immediate parole.

Originally published as 'He thought he would die': Taxi driver bashed, dumped in creek