Tuesday 21 November 2017

Taxi driver warned he would have his throat slashed in carjacking

Conor Feehan and Mark O'Regan

A TAXI driver who was hijacked at knife-point by a teenager was told he would have his throat cut if he didn't hand over his takings.

In the past week, there have been three incidents of carjackings in Dublin, with drivers now being warned to keep their doors locked and windows shut.

Gardai have told motorists to lock their car doors as routinely as they fasten their seatbelts in light of this latest dangerous trend in the capital.

The latest incident involved a 15-year-old hijacking the car of a 36-year-old Chinese taxi driver.

Still traumatised by the shocking attack in the early hours of yesterday morning, the driver has told how he feared he would not get out of his car alive and see his wife and two young children again. The driver said when he picked his passenger up he had no idea of any danger.

"I had seen the guy wave me down in Tallaght at about 5.15am, he looked like he was in his late teens, and when he got into the car there was no smell of drink or anything from him, he seemed like a normal guy," the driver said last night.

"After we went through Templeogue he started asking me had I been out long and where I was from. It was just normal conversation.

"But then near Terenure he just pulled out a knife with a rectangle shaped blade around six inches long.

"I passed the taxi rank and I said to him 'please don't hurt me, I will give you the money' but he was shouting that he would cut my throat and saying he didn't care. I thought I would not get out of the car alive. I thought he would attack me," the driver said through tears at his Dublin home as he was comforted by his wife.

The couple have two children aged 10 and two.

After he stopped the car he reached for the button that de-activates the central locking, and he jumped out.

"When I looked around my car was being driven away," the driver added.

Crashed

The youth crashed the car in Cabra around 20 minutes later and fled the scene. However he was arrested by gardai a short distance away and was taken to Rathmines garda station for questioning.

The driver is now waiting to assess the damage to his car, and does not know if he has the courage to continue as a taxi driver. "All I was doing was trying to provide for my family, but it is not worth that risk I think," he said.

The terrifying incident was the third carjacking in Dublin within a week. A heavily pregnant woman in her 30s was injured in a carjacking near Mountjoy Square seven days ago. And a woman and her two young children were threatened by an armed robber when their car was hijacked in Terenure on Friday afternoon.

Last night, gardai urged car users to be extra vigilant, and to take sensible precautions to help protect themselves.

They said to be alert, and keep all doors and windows locked. Valuables should be "out of sight" – do not leave briefcases, handbags, coats on seats in open view. Items such as cash, credit cards, cheque books should not be left in the car.

Irish Independent

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