Nigerian taximan dies after beating that left him in a coma
A GARDA investigation into a vicious attack on a taxi driver which left him in a coma is expected to be upgraded to a murder probe today after he lost his fight to survive.
Moses Ayanwole (41), married with a 12-year-old son, died in St James's Hospital in Dublin yesterday. Mr Ayanwole, originally from west Nigeria, was living in Hartstown, west Dublin.
He was working in the city centre at about 12.30am on Monday when he was attacked. He was punched in the head by a man in his taxi and fell heavily on to the ground as his taxi was parked on Pearse Street near the Erne Street junction.
Mr Ayanwole fell into a coma and doctors in St James's Hospital decided not to transfer him to Beaumont Hospital, which specialises in head injuries, because of the seriousness of his injuries.
A garda hunt got under way after the attack and officers arrested the prime suspect, who is in his mid-20s, for the attack about 8pm on Monday. He was tracked down to a pub just yards from the scene of the attack but was released without charge on Tuesday. A file is being prepared for the DPP.
The president of the Irish Taxi Drivers' Federation, John Usher, last night urged representative bodies to see what could be done to give drivers better protection.
"This is the third murder of a taxi driver. These attacks are on the increase."
A post-mortem will be carried out to pinpoint the exact cause of death.
It is believed that a large group of people hailed the taxi, but the victim told them he could not take them all. There was a brief discussion and the group got out of the car and flagged down another taxi.
But one man stayed behind. He exchanged words with the taxi driver as he was leaving. Mr Ayanwole was punched and fell.
It is understood gardai are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.
Mr Usher said on hearing the driver died: "My thoughts are with his partner and child.
"When you are driving your taxi you do not know who is getting in beside you. It could be a High Court judge or someone wanted for murder.
"In the car it is one to one with the passenger. It is a very frightening experience when you are attacked. We had drivers who were attacked and never went back to work."