'He climbed on top of me while I was driving' - Taxi driver on how she was assaulted by four men

'He climbed on top of me while I was driving' - Taxi driver on how she was assaulted by four men

A female taxi driver has told how she was assaulted a number of years ago by four men she picked up as a fare during the Kinsale 7s in Co Cork.

The taxi driver, Shirley, contacted the Neil Prendeville show on Cork radio station Red FM (104-106) after listening to other taxi drivers on the show talking about being attacked over the weekend in the city.

Shirley explained that five years ago when she picked up the fare at 4.30am in the morning, the man in the front passenger seat began stripping before another in the back also took his clothes off.

She said the man assaulted her and put her in danger during the journey.

Shirley said: "He (the front passenger) kept climbing on top of me while I was driving. The car was all over the road, but I just kept moving my head to see where I was going."

The rest of the men "were just laughing, they thought it was fierce funny".

She said: "He was there and he was naked and he was saying 'what do you think of that?' and things like that."

She kept driving but she said: "They were threatening to take the car off me.

"Worst case scenario, I'm going to be killed instead of being gang-raped. How I kept driving I'll never know, but I thought 'just keep going and get somewhere where there is a camera', and I did."

After she managed to get them to their destination, she cannot remember if they paid her.

She said: "I just wanted to get out of it, and I just kept telling them 'get out of the car'. I was parked in front of a hotel, so obviously it was caught on camera, and I've been told that they haven't enough evidence.

"When I was telling them to get out, three of them got out and a small guy came round and said 'is that the worst thing that has ever happened to you?', and I just took off.

"He thought it was a great thing. I don't think they cared one bit."

She said she waited a couple of hours before contacting the gardaí, saying: "I thought I'd be brave enough to go straight to the guards, but my head was everywhere."

"I got home and got in contact with my buddy and then when I got to the Garda Station, there was a detective there and when he heard my complaint he got down there, but these particular people were gone."

The four men had caught a flight soon after they left her taxi, but she revealed that when the front passenger took his clothes off a medal had fallen out of his clothes and was later found in her taxi.

"They did take my car away, the forensics, the man in the hotel knew who they were. One guy stole my glasses and I phoned the hotel to get their names and he said they had left my glasses there and obviously the porter knew who they were," she said.

"Detectives did go over with their names but I don't think the police over there have done anything about it."

"The medal had his fingerprints on it, they had the medal. We go through so much and nothing's done about it. As far as I know, they know where in Wales they are living."

Shirley is determined to see justice done and she has continued to pursue her case.

She said: "The detective was so good...Anytime I phoned him he was so helpful with me but they told me it would be a long haul. I did go to a solicitor and he got letters from the chief of police over there saying they hadn't enough evidence. So, I really don't know what's going to happen now.

"I'm not leaving it go, I can't. I'd still like some closure."

This isn't the first time Shirley has been assaulted while driving her taxi. She revealed how: "going back years before that, a guy caught me by the throat in the car.

"I got over that, that wasn't something I let get me down. I think I broke his nose, I got my legs up from below the steering wheel and let my legs fly at his face and he just got out the car and ran."

She explained that the incident with the four men has affected her deeply, saying: "I didn't drive for a long, long time and now I've started a school run but I won't pick up off the streets...I get panic attacks.

"Now, I've had plenty of counselling but I just want them to be punished for what they've put me through. I still have my moments, I'm trying my best to get on with my life, but I just want closure and I'm not going to leave it go."

She ended by saying that she wanted people to know what taxi drivers have to go through sometimes when they are just doing their job.

Shirley said: "We put up with so much; sometimes the guards don't understand we're out there, we're getting drunk people home, saving people getting into arguments."

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