Gardaí are hunting for a lone raider who threatened to slash a taxi driver’s throat during a robbery.

Suleman Ahmed, 34, said he feared for his life when the suspect held a kitchen knife to his throat during the terrifying incident in Cork city.

Mr Ahmed, who has become an Irish citizen after moving from Pakistan to live in Rochestown over a decade ago, suffered defensive wounds to his right hand during the ordeal.

“I’ve been driving a taxi in Cork for four years and never, ever felt afraid. But this time, I felt I was gone. He told me he would cut my throat and that I would never see my family again.

“I don’t think it was a racist attack. This guy could have done this to anybody. I just hope he’s caught soon because I fear he may strike again.”

Mr Ahmed said he has yet to return to work and has ordered a security system for his taxi. And he said once the system is fitted, he will probably only return to day-time work.

Mr Ahmed said he was nearing the end of a 13-hour Christmas Eve shift when he picked up a fare near the Bodega, on the Coal Quay, just before 3am on Christmas morning, and was asked to drive him to the College Road area.

But he said he felt uneasy as they drove along Gilabbey Street and he decided to drop the man near the Bon Secours Hospital on College Road. The man, who was sitting in the back seat, then produced a knife, held it to his throat and demanded cash.

Mr Ahmed used his hands to try and stop the raider from pressing the knife to his neck, and suffered knife wounds to several fingers. “First he asked for €100 and when I was counting it out, he asked for all the money,” Mr Ahmed said. “The pressure he was putting on the knife, I thought I was gone. I couldn’t do anything.”

He told Neil Prendeville on RedFM that the raider finally fled through a cul-de-sac and he raised the alarm. He praised gardaí for their swift response — they were on the scene within minutes — but the raider had escaped.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Ahmed said he received medical treatment in Cork University Hospital but has since been told that he may have suffered nerve damage to his injured fingers.

He described the suspect as between 20 and 25 years of age, unshaven, of average build, and with a strong Cork accent. He was wearing a hoodie and black jacket.

Gardaí have downloaded CCTV footage and are due to prepare a photofit of the suspect today.

Mr Ahmed said he is hopeful that a €10 note dropped by the raider in the back seat may yield vital evidence.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area in the early hours of Christmas morning to contact them at Togher Garda Station on 021-4947120.


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