A TAXI driver was strangled with a phone charger while being branded a paedophile by two thugs who threatened to kill him.

Kevin Hutchinson, 25, of Appleton Way Wickford and Roy O’Donoghue, 34, of Finchley Road, Westcliff targeted the driver in Appletree Way, Wickford at 2.45am on September 12.

At Basildon Crown Court yesterday, Hutchinson was sentenced to 10 years in prison while O’Donoghue was handed an 11 year and four month sentence.

The driver was left with bruising and swelling to his face and lost two teeth in the attack while the pair stole his phone.

Judge Samantha Leigh said both were trying to hide behind an excuse of being drunk.

She said: “This was a totally unprovoked attack and you were calling him a paedophile and saying you would kill him.

“ODonoghue you tried to strangle him and he was punched repeatedly.

“He was vulnerable and suffered psychical, mental and financial loss. You restrained the driver and this was not a fleeting attack and went on for a good few minutes.”

Prosecuting Katie Mustard revealed the victim has been unable to work since the violent attack.

She said: “He has difficulties sleeping and finds it hard to trust people and it’s had an impact on the whole family.

“He also now fears going out at a night.”

Mitigating for O’Donoghue Steven Levy, insisted his client was disgusted at his actions.

He said: “He was given eight years in prison for GBH with intent and was released and things were going well and he started to turn his life around.

“He suffered injuries to his back and was stabbed in a previous incident and was self medicating for the pain with alcohol.”

Sean Smith, mitigating for Hutchinson in court, said: “He’s shown genuine remorse in a series of letters and took positive steps while in custody.

“He has no previous convictions of this seriousness and when sober he is not a bad person.”