A Derby PHV driver was knocked unconscious for 15 hours after being punch-ed, kicked and stamped in the head in an argument over the number of people in his car.
Dad Mohmood Akhtar has been warned by doctors not to drive for around a year as the brutal attack could have left him with a blood clot.
The 54-year-old self-employed private hire driver was on the third job of his shift at 6pm on Saturday, January 27, when he picked up a fare which he thought was for four people - but turned out to be five.
It was not until he started driving the group around Normanton that he spotted four people in the back of his taxi and brought the journey to an end and asked them to get out.
Mr Akhtar, who has been a taxi driver for five years, told the Derby Telegraph: “It was just getting dark and there were a lot of people outside when they were getting into the car so I did not spot that there were more of them.
“When I realised there were four people in the back, I stopped the car and told them I could only have three people in the back. I said I could get in a lot of trouble for having you there. They offered me more money but I refused and said it’s against the law.
“They then all got out but left my car doors open. I asked them politely to close them because I had done nothing wrong. There were cars behind me sounding their hooters and getting annoyed. I then went outside and closed the first door, when I went to close the second somebody struck me and I just remember falling.
“That was at about 6pm on the evening and I did not regain consciousness until after 9am the next morning. I woke up to see my family standing there and I asked them what had happened. I cannot remember a thing about the attack.
“I have been told I was punched, kicked and stamped on. It’s thought they had knuckle dusters on and jewellery. I could not believe I was out of it for 15 hours. My family were terrified. I feel very lucky to be alive.”
Mr Akhtar said the attack has left him feeling “traumatised” and “scarred for life”.
He was kept in the Royal Derby Hospital for three days and will have to go back for regular monitoring. He added: “I have a broken nose, bruising everywhere and they gave me stitches all over my mouth and nose. I was attacked in my head and body and I’m still in a lot of pain. I was left totally dazed by it all.
“I still cannot believe it’s happened. It’s a miracle I’m alive.”
Mr Akhtar said he is now worried about how he will make an income. He added: “Driving is my livelihood. I have a family to provide for and it’s been snatched away from me for a long time. It’ll be ages until I’m back on my feet and able to drive again.
“They don’t yet know how much damage this has done to my brain. I don’t know how I will feed for my family. I’m a decent, hard-working man and I don’t deserve this to happen to me. Having this taken away means everything has gone. I have lost my confidence and my income.”
The incident was witnessed by a number of people who phoned for the police and para-medics who were quick to arrive at the scene.
Mr Akhtar added: “I’m lucky this happened at 6pm when people were about. Had it been later then I’m convinced I would be dead now. Nobody would have been there. I want to thank everybody who helped, the paramedics and the police. I’m so pleased.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire police said a 45-year-old Derby man had been arrested in connection with the incident and had been released while under investigation.
A spokesman said anybody with information or anybody who witnessed the incident should call on 101.