'I thought racist thugs would kill me' - taxi driver
Racist thugs viciously beat a Dublin taxi driver before stealing his car.
Father-of-four Ibrahim Gazal (42), from Nigeria, was repeatedly punched in the face and head by two passengers, who called him a "f****** black b******".
The attackers had flagged down Ibrahim's taxi at Hanlon's Corner in Dublin 7 in the early hours of yesterday and directed him to Botanic Road in Glasnevin.
On the way, Ibrahim asked the man in the front seat to put on his safety belt as the car, a 2010 blue Toyota Avensis, was making a bleeping sound.
"He shouted back at me 'shut your mouth, you f****** black b******, you come to the country and get a job here'," Mr Gazal told the Herald. The man said he was going to make sure Ibrahim suffered by taking his taxi.
On Botanic Road, the driver urged them to calm down, saying he would not charge them for the fare.
"The guy was telling me I must be joking, that they would take the car off me," Ibrahim said.
Realising he was in trouble, he turned the car around and drove back towards Phibsboro with the hazard lights on and beeping the horn.
"I put my foot down on the accelerator. I wanted to speed to the junction of Phibsboro and North Circular Road. That way maybe I could see patrol guards.
"The guy in the front was punching me and the one in the back was dragging me with the belt, trying to strangle me.
"They were dragging the steering. He [the front seat passenger] was punching me in the face. He was punching me, punching me, punching me."
Ibrahim, who lives with his wife Kemi and children in North Co Dublin, stopped the car when he realised one of the thugs had a knife.
"The guy was looking for the knife to stab me," he said. Ibrahim escaped from his car beside Tesco in Phibsboro but he was pursued by the front seat passenger.
"He banged my head on the ground. Every time I try to stand up, he starts mashing me, mashing my face, my head, my shoulder, my waist."
Ibrahim thought he was going to be killed so he used his "last strength" to run towards delivery men he had seen unloading a lorry.
The attackers sped off in his taxi. Gardai were called and Ibrahim was taken to the Mater Hospital.
"Thank God I'm alive. They didn't kill me," he said. The incident, which took place shortly before 4am yesterday, is understood to be the 15th car-jacking this year.
The stolen taxi was later located by gardai on Homefarm Road in Drumcondra.