"A taxi driver had his car grabbed at knifepoint - then watched in horror as the hijacker plunged to his death by driving it off a 120ft cliff.
Brian Tate, 41, was about to drop his fare off in a restaurant car park when Stephen Heslop, 22, is said to have held a knife to his throat.
A female colleague of Mr Tate's, revealed: "Brian said to him 'Don't be stupid - I know you.'"
Having got out of his black Nissan, Mr Tate saw the car being driven up the road before it turned around and headed straight for him, forcing the stunned cabbie to run out of the way.
The carjacker then hit the kerb and crashed through safety barriers in South Shields, Tyneside, smashing the car on the rocks below.
After landing upside down, the car came to rest on its wheels.
Fire crews had to cut the roof to reach local man Mr Heslop, who was found dead inside. A friend said he had been suffering from depression in recent years.
Mr Tate's colleague added: "Brian has been left with no livelihood at Christmas. He's had to go off the road with two kids to support and no money coming in. The insurance will take months to sort out."
After the crash on Boxing Day evening, the wrecked taxi was recovered and hauled back up to the car park. Police are examining it.
The parking area is near a lift which takes customers down to the Marsden Grotto pub restaurant - partly built into the cliff at the former smugglers' cove."
Some folk really do get desperately depressed at this time of year, it's sad to hear of anyone ending their own life but to do so in such a spectacular fashion, this chap must really have been a tortured soul.