Digger 'crushed taxi after fare row'

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The Independent Online

A taxi driver has revealed the astonishing moment when he watched his car being destroyed by a digger — just hours after a row with a customer over a fare.

Co Antrim man Jonathan Brown (36) said his taxi was left a write-off after the attack which happened in the early hours of yesterday morning. Police said they have arrested a man in connection with criminal damage.

Earlier on Monday evening Mr Brown had picked up a fare in Crumlin. He claims that he had exchanged words with the customer following a disagreement over the fare.

He said: “We argued about it and let’s just say a few choice words were exchanged. He eventually threw £10 at me and walked away. We did not leave on the best of terms.”

Mr Brown returned to his home at around 1.15am where his three children aged 10, nine and five, were asleep in bed. He watched some TV to unwind. His wife Denise was upstairs but still awake. When he got up to go to bed it was 2.45am.

He described what happened next as “unbelievable”.

He said: “I heard a loud noise like the revving of an engine. I looked out and there was a man driving towards the house in a digger smiling from behind the wheel.

“He drove down the driveway smashing into my car, ramming it down to the back of the house and through the hedge.

“It was all over in a couple of seconds but the car is a complete write-off.”

Mr Brown called the police immediately before trying to calm his family and his pets, who were locked up in the back garden. “I keep animals. Goats, chickens and ducks, they are just shocked to the core. I had to get the vet out to them today,” he said.

“The children were also woken up by what happened. We sent them to school this morning and are trying to act as normally as possible. They seem to be coping quite well.

“We moved from west Belfast years ago to give my children a better upbringing, but we never had any bother there. This is not the thing you would expect around here, it is just unbelievable. My wife can’t quite believe it either.

“We were very lucky he didn’t drive the thing into the house or I don’t want to think about what might have happened.

“I’m going to be out of work for God knows how long as it is not a straightforward car accident, so I don’t know what way my insurance will work or if I will get a replacement car. This has just left me high and dry.”

* Source: The Belfast Telegraph