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Norwich taxi driver assaulted in bizarre incident

Taxi driver Paul Duddell who was attacked while working at the weekend.

Taxi driver Paul Duddell who was attacked while working at the weekend.

©Archant Photographic 2011

A Good Samaritan taxi driver has been left in a state of shock when he was beaten up after a woman passenger jumped out of his car.

Father-of-one Paul Duddell, 46, who works for Norwich-based Five Star Taxis, was trying to make sure that his passenger was all right, but was instead assaulted by a stranger.

He was driving the woman from Prince of Wales Road in Norwich to King’s Lynn when his car started to lose power on the A47 near Easton.

He told her: “This happened once earlier on in the evening and to rectify it I had to switch the ignition off and restart the engine. I hope you don’t mind if I do that again as it’s the only way I can get the engine power working.”

Mr Duddell said the passenger panicked and ran onto the dual carriageway screaming for passing cars to stop and help her.

He was worried about her safety and drove after her, but, in what he claims was an unprovoked attack, the driver of a car that had stopped punched him in the nose, leaving him with bruises and two dislodged teeth.

Mr Duddell said: “I am now in a state of shock over the attack. In 23 years of working as a taxi driver on nights I have never experienced anything like this before and I am now too frightened to work nights again. I’m an emotional mess and feel very vulnerable.”

Mr Duddell, who lives in Norwich but does not want his full address to be revealed in case of reprisals, had picked up the passenger in the early hours of Saturday.

She borrowed his phone to call a friend and seemed “in a distressed and emotional state of mind”.

One car stopped but the driver then decided to drive off, but another vehicle did pull over to help her.

He added: “At this point I remembered she had used my phone to call her friend so I phoned him.

“I told him to stay on the phone and I would see if I could see her anywhere as we were both concerned for the girl’s safety.”

But the driver who stopped came over to him and grabbed the phone.

Mr Duddell said: “He then took my phone to speak to the girl’s friend. I said to him ‘Hold on mister, I’ve done nothing wrong. What’s your problem?’

“He then handed the phone back to me and then punched me in my face. It was like being hit with a sledge hammer and felt as though he had broken my nose.

“My teeth and gums felt like they were on fire, and the pain was intense.”

He has reported the incident to police.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Police are appealing for information following an incident in Easton.

“The incident took place between 2am and 2.30am on January 22 at the Easton roundabout on the A47, where an altercation took place between
two males which resulted in a male in his 40s being punched in the face.

“Officers are keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed what happened or with any information relating to the incident.”

Contact Bowthorpe and Costessey safer neighbourhood team on 0845 456 4567 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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