Driver’s anger at taxi assault

Taxi driver Karen Melling, who was assaulted in her Hackney carriage
Taxi driver Karen Melling, who was assaulted in her Hackney carriage
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A FEMALE Hackney Carriage driver says she feels let down by the police after her attacker walked free.

Karen Melling, 33, of Whelley, claims she was assaulted by a man who became angry after he was told his fare would be £1 more than he expected.

But following more than an hour at the police station in Wigan, Ms Melling was told no-one could be charged as the man denied the claims and was backed up by his girlfriend, who was also in the vehicle.

She was told she needed an independent witness and proof of who the attacker was before police could act.

The alleged offence took place at around 1.30am on Sunday, when she picked up a young couple from Wallgate.

Karen said: “I took the couple to their address in Newtown and I asked for the fare, which was £6. The man went ballistic, saying it was only £5. I said that if they were not going to pay, I would drive to the police station and he pulled my handbrake and told me to stop the car.

“He then started kicking the car door and I had to drive with the car door open and his hand on the handbrake.

“He got his hand around my neck and started to strangle me. Then he hit me in the head and dragged me out of the car and started to beat me up.”

She rang the police and officers arrested a 22-year-old man. But she was later told that her alleged attacker was released without charge due to lack of evidence.

Miss Melling, who has been a Hackney Carriage driver since 2009, said: “I feel so angry and let down. I have been attacked and the police have let my attacker walk free. I have always felt safe, but now I feel vulnerable. I lost three hours of earnings and could not work for three days because I had no car. My neck and hands are really sore and I have a scrape under my chin.”

Supt Bob Lomas, of Wigan police, said: “When this report of an assault came in, my officers thoroughly investigated the circumstances. The victim did not require any medical attention which made it hard to prove that any assault had taken place.

“Nor could it be proven that there had been any damage to the victim’s taxi.

“All of this meant there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with any criminal offences.

“The criminal justice system has thresholds at every stage in the process where the question of whether there would be enough evidence to prove criminality to a court, beyond reasonable doubt. We take every report of an attack on a taxi driver in Wigan very seriously, as we did in this case.”