Fears for safety of Portsmouth taxi drivers after vicious Southsea attack
TAXI officials are demanding action against the men who brutally attacked and robbed a driver and left him covered in blood '“ before someone in the trade is killed.
Ajman Ali was set upon and punched in the face ‘10 to 15 times’ as he returned home in his cab from a 11-hour shift in Portsmouth.
The father’s ordeal began after two men approached his car in Dunsmore Close, Somers Town, and ordered to be driven somewhere at 6.20am on Saturday. When he declined, they laid into defenceless Mr Ali and fractured his nose before fleeing.
Reliving the attack, the 62-year-old said: ‘I’m still in pain. I felt helpless. I didn’t feel safe and I was worried that I could have been killed.
‘It could have been worse. I was covered in blood. There was blood all over the floor, in my car and all over my clothes.’
City cab colleagues have condemned the brutal attack, which unfolded 50 yards from Mr Ali’s house, and say they now fear for their own safety.
And calls are made for workers to be ‘vigilant’ – or risk losing their life.
Portsmouth hackney carriage trade representative Chris Dixon said: ‘He could have been killed, for a bit of small change. Is his life worth a tenner? It could be the next time.
‘It’s a horrible attack, and we need to ask drivers to a bit more vigilant.
‘The thought of someone being killed is unthinkable.’
Hackney driver Forhad Mahmud, 38, said: ‘Since the attack, I have been a bit scared because you don’t know whether someone is behind you. Someone could follow me and I could be attacked. It’s very scary.
‘I am definitely worried that someone could be killed. The way he was attacked across the face, one punch could have proved fatal.’
Explaining what happened, Mr Ali said: ‘Two men came by and asked me to take them somewhere. I said “I am not working now, I am finished and tired”. I started at 7pm and finished about 6am.
‘I said they were able to call a cab from here. Then one of them punched my nose. I punched them back. Then the other kicked the door, and the door hit my leg and I fell back on to my car seat.
‘And then one of the men began punching my face, about 10 to 15 times.
‘They stole my e-cigarette machine and some money, about £10, and ran away.’
Mr Ali was taken to hospital, where it was confirmed his nose had been fractured and his mouth was badly damaged.
The suspects, described as white and in their 20s, ran off towards Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.
Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting 44160418149.