A black cab driver has been jailed after he sped away with a woman clinging to the window of a vehicle, leaving her with life-threatening injuries.
Karamat Ali sensed ‘trouble’ when a 22-year-old politics student stepped backwards in front of his hackney carriage after a night out drinking, so he locked the doors and re-fused to take her, Manchester Crown Court heard.
She then grabbed hold of the lowered front passenger side window, but the Stockport 56-year-old put his foot down and sped off. The woman was dragged 57 yards down the road before falling off and suffering a severe head injury, prosecutor Michael Morley said.
Ali left the scene and made no attempt to report the accident. Now the cabbie, from Stockport, has been jailed for 18 months after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to report an accident.
The incident only lasted around five to ten seconds, in September last year and witness Umar Ali described the victim being ‘dragged along’ after the cab accelerated ‘really quickly’ while clinging to the window. Mr Ali said at one point her legs were ‘lifted off the floor’.
Following his arrest, Ali said he was aware the victim had been clinging to the vehicle, but said driving off in the way he had was routinely done by taxi drivers who didn’t want drunk fares.
She had suffered a brain injury so severe that a piece of her skull had to be removed. She has lost her sense of smell and at one stage doctors feared paralysis.
However, although her functioning re-mains impaired, she has made enough of a recovery to resume studying a masters.
Paul Prior, defending, said Ali was a hardworking family man who volunteered with the homeless, had not had an accident in 25 years, and had an unblemished 12 years as a cabbie until that morning.
Sentencing, Judge Martin Rudland said he had no doubt about the situations cab drivers faced, but added that ‘no-one was criticising’ the victim’s behaviour.
Jailing Ali, he told him: “You locked the door, she clearly didn’t want you to leave, and put her hands over the top of the window. You took the conscious and deliberate decision to drive away, knowing she was connected to your vehicle.
“You didn’t contemplate it happening but you had here a risk of it happening and it did. I can’t allow you to walk away from this.”