Suspect in assault on female taxi driver returned to prison


IT HAS emerged that a suspect in what gardaí described as a “vicious” assault on a female taxi driver was unlawfully at large at the time from Loughan House, the open prison, in Co Cavan.

The victim, “Heather”, was punched and said she feared for her life during the attack.

“I don’t know if I will ever work the taxi again. I am not sleeping and I am fearful. He should have been behind bars and not been allowed out.”

The 41-year-old mother-of-two believes she was singled out by the men because “I was a woman.”

She said in the minutes before she was repeatedly struck, one of the men said to her, “I’m only out of prison. I said, ‘Oh it must be for good behaviour’, and he said it wouldn’t be for good behaviour.”

When she was punched in the face and head as her money was demanded from her, she said, “I thought, ‘This is it, I could die’.”

The attack took place in Drogheda about midnight on Tuesday after the two men sat into her cab and asked to go out the Dublin road.

She has been left with concussion, swelling and bruising.

Heather sensed she was in danger so she parked underneath bright lights.

One of them got out and opened her door as he shouted at her for her night takings and began to punch her.

They took her takings of about €180 and she ran out on to the road to try to flag down passing motorists. One slowed down and the two culprits seemed to vanish and Heather got back into her car and radioed for help.

Garda Supt Jim Cannon said: “This was a vicious and cowardly attack by two males on a taxi driver who was simply doing her job. It was a vicious attack on a female on her own and there was gratuitous use of violence.

“She remained calm and was able to give a description to gardaí and within 15 minutes two males were arrested and the cash recovered. One of the men arrested was returned to custody and the other was released and a file is being prepared for the DPP,” he said.

Christy Humphrey of the National Private Hire and Taxi Association said: “These assaults are becoming more common and there have been a few in the Drogheda area in recent times.”