Edinburgh thugs blind taxi driver on first day in job

Taxi rank in Edinburgh. Stock image
Taxi rank in Edinburgh. Stock image
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A TAXI driver was assaulted and temporarily blinded by teenage thugs as he was getting ready for his first shift.

The 49-year-old victim and father of two, who has asked not to be named, said he was left feeling terrified and “very, very angry” following the attack in Oxgangs Avenue.

He said the three assailants approached his taxi last Monday at around 10.50pm.

At the time, he was sitting inside, familiarising himself with the vehicle’s navigation and communication systems.

Without warning, the youths opened the driver and passenger doors, which were not locked, and demanded he hand over his money. They then began raining blows on his face and head, quickly causing him to lose sight in his right eye.

The taxi driver, whose mobile phone was stolen during the attack, said: “They got into the car and they were kicking and punching me.

“They started on my eyes and I was totally blind in one eye – I could not see out of it. I was feeling very, very angry. Why was this happening, I thought. And I felt afraid.”

The driver said he was saved by the arrival of a bus, which prompted the youths to run off.

“The driver stopped and got out, and was shouting after them,” he said.

“Then he phoned the police and ambulance. Afterwards, I was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and they referred me to St John’s in Livingston. The day after I felt OK.”

Police said they were looking to trace the three teenagers in connection with another assault which also took place last Monday night. The incident occurred at around 8.20pm, when a 48-year-old pizza delivery man arrived at a block of flats in Oxgangs Grove.

After parking his car and entering a common stairwell, he was approached from behind by the youths. They demanded that he hand over his pizza delivery and attacked him, striking him repeatedly on the arms and body, and causing him to fall to the ground.

The suspects then fled the scene carrying the pizza bag, with the delivery man managing to drive back to his place of work.

Officers are pursuing various lines of inquiry in an effort to trace the three suspects, who are all described as white and aged between 14 and 17.

The first male is said to be around 5ft 7ins tall and was wearing a dark navy tracksuit top and grey bottoms.

The second suspect is around 5ft 9ins tall. He was wearing a dark, hooded tracksuit top and grey bottoms.

The final suspect is around 5ft 7ins tall and wore a dark tracksuit top, light-coloured bottoms and white 
trainers.

Detective Inspector John Kavanagh, of Corstorphine CID, said: “Given the brazen nature of these attacks and the vicinity in which they were carried out we believe that both incidents are linked and had been carried out by the same culprits.”

Those with information can call 101.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com