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File image. Blainey Woodham / Tweed Daily Ne

Kids watched on as couple violently attacked taxi driver

ANGRY and intoxicated, Steven Reginald Doyle grasped two glass beer bottles in his fist and smashed them over the head of a taxi driver.

The taxi driver had pulled over on a night in September 2016 as Doyle and his partner, Ursula Marie Brandrick, argued in the car about who would pay for the fare.

When he pressed the duress alarm and started calling for help, Brandrick got out of the car and started yelling while Doyle smashed the bottles over the driver's head.

They both continued to assault the driver until a passing motorist pulled over and intervened, calling the police and keeping guard until they arrived.

The pair were committed to stand trial in the Rockhampton District Court, but on Monday entered pleas of guilty after the jury had been empanelled.

In sentencing on Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor Alexandra Baker said the taxi driver had been taken to hospital with a 5cm gash to his head from the attack.

In a victim impact statement presented to the court the driver described feeling "weak and humiliated", suffering mental stress and fear as he returned to work several weeks after the incident.

Ms Baker said the couple had attacked a "vulnerable target" doing a "thankless job", while their children watched on.

Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand appeared on behalf of 46-year-old Doyle.

Mr Ahlstrand said Doyle described a happy childhood which was not marred by drug or alcohol abuse, or any instances of domestic violence.

Despite gaining several qualifications, Doyle has been unemployed for some time.

Mr Ahlstrand said he was now separated from Brandrick, but remained close to their child and was a father figure to Brandrick's children from a previous relationship.

He acknowledged Doyle was the leader of the attack and had a history of violent offences, including a previous assault on a taxi driver.

Defence barrister Ross Lo Moncao appeared on behalf of 42-year-old Brandrick.

He said she was not intoxicated at the time of the attack, but Judge Michael Burnett said the footage showed her holding bottles of alcohol and it was likely she simply didn't realise she was under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Lo Monaco said there was no planning involved in the attack.

Judge Burnett described the couple's attack as "a disgraceful episode against an extremely vulnerable target".

He told Doyle that driving a taxi was not particularly well paid and often difficult.

"You don't have any significant employment history," he told Doyle.

"Maybe you should think about finding a job as a taxi driver and find out for yourself."

Judge Burnett said Doyle's use of the bottles "like a club" to hit the driver was "reprehensible", as was the racial abuse directed at the Indian-Australian driver.

He noted Doyle's violent history and said "despite every effort at rehabilitation nothing has seemed to work to date".

Doyle was sentenced to three years' imprisonment with immediate parole after serving almost a year in custody prior to the sentence.

Brandrick was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for three years.