A 33-year-old Cam man has admitted a racially aggravated assault on a taxi driver.

At Cheltenham Magistrates' Court yesterday, Shane Orchard pleaded guilty to assaulting Abdellatif Settar on April 1 this year.

The court heard that the offence was racially aggravated with Orchard referring to Mr Settar, who is originally from Morocco, as a 'Paki' during the assault.

Orchard, of Knapp Lane, sat with his head in his hands as prosecutor Rhodri Jones read out a transcript from a recording that Mr Settar had made during the attack.

He had told police officers that he was not racist and that he could not have said such things.

However, once he was played a copy of the tape by the officers in his police interview, he was "shocked and asked the officer to turn it off so that he didn't have to listen to any more of it" his defence lawyer Lee Mott told the Court.

"He also apologised to the officer for having to listen to the abusive language," Mr Mott said.

Mr Jones told the Court that Orchard and his partner had been refused transport by another driver at the taxi rank in Gloucester "due to their drunken state".

But Mr Settar agreed to take them back to Durlsey for a flat fee of £40.

Mr Settar became concerned when he saw Orchard lying flat on the back seat of his car, and then the situation developed when the taxi stopped at a cash point on Bristol Road.

"There was a disagreement about the previously agreed fee," Mr Jones said. "Mr Orchard grabbed Mr Setter from behind and pulled him back by the hood of his jacket. This caused Mr Setter to endure a certain amount of throttling.

"Mr Orchard was saying: 'You f*cking Paki c*nt... Go back to your country... You f*ck with me and you're dead. It's a good thing he stopped otherwise I'd have strangled him."

Mr Mott explained that this was a "spectacular fall from grace". He said that Orchard woke up in the police cells with no recollection of what had happened, but had denied he had been violent or racially abusive towards Mr Setter.

However when the recording was played, Mr Mott said that his client said "That's disgusting" and asked the officer to stop the recording.

Mr Mott said that his client had no previous convictions and "he maintains he is not a racist. This was a dispute over a fare"

The magistrates adjourned sentence against Orchard pending the preparation of pre-sentence reports until April 26.