‘I blacked out for about 30 seconds’: Norwich taxi driver Abdullah Salh punched in the face for refusing custom

Taxi driver Abdullah Salh who was attacked at Norwich Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Taxi driver Abdullah Salh who was attacked at Norwich Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A Norwich taxi driver needs facial surgery after being punched in the face during a brutal assault when he rejected someone's request for a ride.

Taxi driver Abdullah Salh who was attacked at Norwich Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Taxi driver Abdullah Salh who was attacked at Norwich Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Abdullah Salh was attacked and his car was kicked when he told a woman he operated on a 'pre-booked only basis' and could not accept casual trade.

He said the woman started to swear at him and her partner then launched the physical attack outside Norwich Railway Station.

Mr Salh, 36, from Costessey, drives for private hire firm ABC Taxis and was at the station to collect a customer.

He was left with a black eye and will need surgery to have his nose re-set following the incident, which happened at around 1.30-1.45am on Tuesday, April 25.

The dad-of-three said: 'As soon as I got out of the car the punch came from out of nowhere. It was a proper punch - I blacked out for about 30 seconds.

'I didn't realise he was going to do such a nasty thing.'

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The punch came after another woman, who had a young child in a pushchair, asked Mr Salh for a ride to Dereham Road while he was in his vehicle.

He said after he tried to explain that his car was pre-booked only, the woman swore and her partner attacked him.

He said: 'I was bleeding a lot and then another man who was standing nearby came to help and got me a tissue from my car.'

Mr Salh then drove himself to A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for first aid.

He said he was still shaken up by the attack, and said he had never experienced anything like it in his two years as a taxi driver. He said: 'If he had a knife he probably would have stabbed me. I didn't deserve this.'

The incident follows the same firm issuing a plea for the public to be respectful after a spate of racial abuse incidents against its drivers. But although Mr Salh is originally from Kurdistan in northern Iraq, there is no suggestion that the assault was racially motivated.

ABC co-owner Paul Walker said: 'Some people still don't realise that they can't hail our cars on the street like Hackneys - they must be pre-booked and if they aren't, the passengers aren't insured. But this was an unacceptable act of violence.'

? British Transport Police are investigating. Call 0800 405040 or text 61016, quoting reference number 1700027658.

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