Wednesday 19 September 2018

Taxi driver dies after 'scuffle' with thieves who stole phone

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Ian Begley and Ken Foy

Gardaí believe a taxi driver who died suddenly on Sunday morning became distraught after two thugs had stolen a mobile phone from him.

The man, who was a foreign national in his 40s, became unwell following an "incident" with a fare at around 4.30am on James's Street, Dublin.

A senior source said last night that the man was not stabbed and suffered no visible injuries in the incident.

"There may have been a brief scuffle but this man did not suffer any injuries consistent with any form of serious assault," the senior source said.

The case is being investigated by Kilmainham gardaí who are working on the "early theory" that the man may have had an "underlying illness" which was activated by the stress of his phone being stolen.

Officers expect to make arrests shortly and have obtained "excellent quality CCTV" of the two alleged thieves entering the Basin Street flats complex in the south inner city shortly after leaving the taxi.

The taxi driver had been living in the Clondalkin area and is understood to have been resident in Ireland for a number of years.

The man was treated at the scene and brought by ambulance to St James's Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A man who came to the aid of the taxi driver took to social media to share his account of what happened.

"I was driving home after work last night [on James's Street] when I saw a taxi stopped at the side of the road with the door wide open.

"I pulled up alongside the car and the driver said, 'Please help. I've been attacked by two guys'.

"So I got out to help him and as I did he fell out on the road saying he was tired and to take his shoes off...

"I rang the guards as I sat him up holding him against my leg while giving details.

"The cops and an ambulance then came and they took over," he said.

Jim Waldron, of the National Private Hire and Taxi Association, said the man was not part of the organisation, but wished to express his sympathies.

"It's very sad no matter how this man died and of course our sympathies go to his friends and family," he said.

A taxi driver who passed by after the incident on Sunday morning said that he saw the man lying on the ground beside his taxi.

"He was on the road by himself, facing outbound while I was driving towards the city.

"I couldn't tell if he was injured, but he was moving.

"I must have passed him before the ambulance and police arrived because he was on his own, but the second time I drove past I saw two or thee taxi drivers with him."

Gardaí confirmed they are treating the case as a sudden death and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kevin Street Garda station 01 6669400 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

Irish Independent

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