A BASINGSTOKE woman punched a taxi driver in the face after she tried to avoid paying an £18 fare.

Charlie-Louise Simone Batchelor admitted assaulting driver Manish Sabharwal after failing to pay for a taxi from Chineham to Saunders Way in June 2019.

The 23-year-old was fined more than £100 for the charges, as well being ordered to pay compensation and costs.

Basingstoke Magistrates' Court heard on Monday that Batchelor, of Basingstoke, jumped out of the taxi when the driver asked her to pay in the early hours of the morning of Saturday, June 1, 2019.

Mr Sabharwal pursued her towards her then-home, and managed to stop her from shutting the door on him.

However, Batchelor managed to punch the taxi driver in the face around the partially closed door, causing redness and pain, but no lasting injuries.

He called the police, who attended the address. After they knocked at the door, a number of people jumped out of a window to the rear of the property and ran away, according to prosecutor Millie Elliott.

When Batchelor eventually opens the door, she claims that it was not her who they were looking for, and was instead someone called Tess that was living for her.

Defending, Ed Stott told the court his client had suffered in recent months. 

"She accepts that there is no other explanation than she was responsible for it," Mr Stott told the court.

"She has had a very difficult last 18 months, she was exploited by people staying at her address, a number of them jumped out of the window."

Mr Stott added she had not offended since this incident, and that even the experience of appearing at court was "very difficult".

Batchelor had pleaded not guilty to the offences in December 2019 before changing her mind on Monday afternoon, and Mr Stott explained that this was the first time they were able to examine the evidence properly.

Chair of Magistrates, Julia Ede, fined the 23-year-old £54 per charge, as well as £50 compensation for the assault, plus £18 for the original taxi fare.

Additionally, she was ordered to pay £100 in costs and a £32 victim surcharge.