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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Captured on dash-cam: Attack that could have blinded taxi driver

Leona O'Neill

The daughter of a taxi driver in his 60s who was attacked in his cab at the weekend says this is not the first time her father has been assaulted while working.

Sunita Singh Hans (22) says that her dad, who is too frightened to speak out, was traumatised after having his window smashed and being punched in the face while driving to collect a fare in Derry on Saturday night.

The attack was captured on the taxi's dash-cam and has been viewed almost 90,000 times on social media.

Sunita says since the footage was posted she has been inundated with messages from other cabbies who have also been attacked in Derry.

She said: "My father was driving along Northland Road at around 11.20pm to pick up a fare when he came across a group of boys.

"One of the boys ran out into the middle of the road. He was very aggressive and jumped onto my father's car bonnet and broke his window wiper.

"My dad was moving the car very slowly and shouting at him to get off.

"The guy jumped off the bonnet and came around to the driver's window, shouting that he was going to drag my father out of the car.

"He smashed my father's window and punched him in the face.

"Dad was covered in glass.

"The attacker immediately ran away. My father drove straight home to us and was very shook up.

"He was cut and his eyes were burning.

"My brother and I had to take him to hospital to have the glass powder washed out of his eyes.

"He was hurt, but mostly it's the mental trauma of what happened. He is worried about his safety.

"He says he is not going to work nights any more.

"I would advise taxi drivers in Derry not to work Saturday nights in this city.

"People complain about how hard it is to get a taxi in Derry on a Saturday night - attacks like this are why. I've had so many messages from other taxi drivers telling me that they've had their cars burnt, they've been attacked also."

Ten years ago the father-of-three, who was born in India but has lived in Derry for 30 years, was the victim of a brutal racist attack while out working.

"A gang smashed bottles through his windshield and beat him up. They smashed his face in. And there have been other attacks since. He has been through so much," said Sunita.

"Luckily we captured everything on camera, so hopefully the police will now act and act quickly."

Police in the city say they are investigating the report of criminal damage to a car on the Northland Road on Saturday, August 5.

Officers are appealing for anyone with information to contact police quoting reference number 1622 05/08/17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph

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