'I saw my life flash in front of me... I thought I'd die' - taximan tells of horror knife attack
A Dublin taxi driver said he feared for his life when a passenger pushed a knife against his throat and demanded his keys and money.
Noel Fairman, from Swords, recalled the frightening journey as his attacker, Sean Ducque (32), was sentenced to five years in jail for the harrowing attack.
Mr Fairman told the Herald he believes Ducque, who has 39 previous convictions, should have been handed more serious charges, considering the physical and psychological injuries he suffered.
Ducque, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the attempted unlawful seizure of Mr Fairman's car on March 26, 2013, at Terrace Place, Dublin, and to producing a knife during the attack.
"I was driving through Ballymun and it was only around 8.30pm when a couple flagged me down and sat into the back seat. There was the usual casual chat on the way into town and I didn't really suspect anything," Mr Fairman said.
"But when I stopped where they asked I suddenly felt something being put up to my throat from over my right shoulder and I instinctively grabbed it.
"It was a blade, and the more I tried to pull it away from my neck the more he tried to press it to my throat.
"I thought I was going to die. I was struggling with the blade but he wouldn't let it go.
"He was roaring for the keys and money and I said 'this has all gone wrong, cut your losses and go'," he added.
The victim received three serious cuts to his hand as a result of the struggle with the knife.
Ducque eventually left the car with the woman passenger, but was later picked up by gardai. DNA analysis of blood on his clothing matched that of Mr Fairman.
He told Judge Patricia Ryan that he hated his job now.
"I saw my life in front of me," he said, adding that he had undergone several life-saving operations over the previous years and had received stent implants for his heart.
He said during the attack he thought his heart might burst or that his throat may be slit.
Judge Ryan imposed an eight-year sentence, but suspended the last three years on condition that Ducque engage with any addiction programmes run by the Probation Services.
Ducque's 39 previous convictions include robbery, burglary, drug-dealing and a number of theft and road traffic offences.
Lawyers for Ducque said that, up to 2007, he had worked as a painter and decorator, but he developed a drug addiction and became homeless.
His convictions arose from his poly-substance abuse, which included heroin.
Last December, Judge Ryan imposed a five-year sentence with two suspended on Ducque after he admitted carrying out a robbery on Greenville Street, Dublin on April 5, 2013. He was charged with the carjacking offence last November.
Mr Fairman expressed satisfaction with the sentence, but said his life will never be the same again since the attack.