July 21st, 2024

Baldhead guilty of assaulting, robbing cab driver

By Peggy Revell on August 30, 2017.


Guilty pleas to the kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery of a taxi cab driver last November were entered Tuesday at the Medicine Hat Courthouse.

Sentencing for Shawn Thomas Baldhead, 29, was adjourned to Dec. 12, so a pre-sentencing report, Gladue Report, and report on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can be assembled for consideration. A joint sentencing is expected between Crown and defence.

According to the agreed statement of facts, the incident occurred Nov. 24, 2016, at around 10 p.m. when a female taxi driver was in her van near St. Barnabas Church. Baldhead approached her as a walk-up fare, asking how much it would cost for a ride across the city, and also asked for a cigarette, which she gave him.

Baldhead got into the taxi, and she drove him to the area of Southview Drive. Upon arrival he left his bag inside the cab, and told her he would be right back with money. When he returned, he got in the backseat again then proceeded to wrap his arm around her neck and strike her in the face. He said he had a gun and wouldn’t be afraid to use it, ordering her to move over to the passenger seat.

Baldhead drove the taxi to Riverside, then sexually assaulted the woman.

He then started driving the vehicle toward Calgary, ripping out the taxi’s communication radios.

Baldhead pulled over in Brooks to get gas, using the woman’s credit card, threatening to shoot the gas attendant if she tried anything.

He kept driving until Strathmore, at which point he went through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

He then proceeded to drive to Calgary, stopping at a 7-11, and telling the woman she could go to the bathroom in the back alley, but if she tried anything he would shoot her. He drove around to other locations, then took her ID, phone and tablet, before releasing her from the vehicle around 2 a.m., with the threat that if she told anyone what happened, he would kill her family.

The woman, Crown said, had previously lived in Calgary so walked for “blocks and blocks” until she came to a familiar neighbourhood, knocked on the doors of former neighbours who recognized her and came to her assistance.

She was able to give police a detailed description of Baldhead, while security cameras at various locations confirmed his identity.

Baldhead was arrested when, due to the description and notice put out by authorities, a Calgary transit driver called police after recognizing him as he was stepping on to the bus.

The van was dumped in a field near a housing development and burned out on the inside.

Defence counsel said that substance abuse was part of the whole incident, and her client is not in a position to dispute the facts.

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