Cardiff taxi driver was assaulted before he ran over eight men, court told
Nov 9 2012
A taxi driver knocked down eight men “like a bowling ball” after a row, a court has heard.
Majid Rehman, 28, is accused of deliberately using his taxi to run over six rail workers and two other pedestrians walking on the pavement.
A court heard how Rehman deliberately drove “at some speed” towards the men as they walked on Wood Street near the Millennium Stadium.
Prosecutor Clare Wilks said: “One witness described it as like a bowling ball being aimed at a load of bowling pins.”
The jury was told how Rehman had earlier been parked in a taxi rank at Cardiff train station waiting to collect passengers.
But a row flared between railway workers and the taxi driver, pictured.
Miss Wilks said: “Six of the men were leaving the train station around 7pm after they had been working for Network Rail.
“They were wearing work wear – high visibility orange trousers and tops – and walking away from the train station.
“Along the way some of the group began to argue with Rehman. There was ill feeling between them.
“Eventually they groups left the area. But it seems Rehman wouldn’t let it be.
“He left the taxi rank and drove after the group of six railway workers – according to one witness even going through a red light.”
Two other men, Mark Underwood and Richard Partridge, were walking in front of the group on the pavement.
Miss Wilks said: “As they walked away from the railway station, Rehman drove his taxi and, in a rage, mounted the pavement and collided with the group of eight men.
“It was a deliberate manoeuvre at some speed, knocking them down like a bowling ball knocking over pins in an alley.
“Some of the men were more fortunate than others.
“Mark Underwood was trapped under the taxi and suffered significant burns to his back, legs and arms as he was wedged under the hot engine.
“It was a chaotic scene, emotions were running high, and Rehman was pulled out of his taxi and assaulted.”
Miss Wilks said the taxi mounted the curb at 14mph on March 27.
Mr Underwood needed extensive skin grafts to his back and is still receiving treatment.
He told the court he had been walking home with friend Mr Partridge after attending a health and safety course in Cardiff.
He said: “I can’t remember being hit – I didn’t see or hear anything at all.
“I was hit from behind and wedged under the fuel tank and the engine.
“I could feel I was in pain and it was very hot but I wasn’t sure what happened.
“The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital.”
The other seven men were released from hospital that evening with fractures, soft tissue damage and severe bruising.
Rehman, of Grangetown, Cardiff, admits dangerous driving but denies five counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and four counts of attempting to unlawfully cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
He also denies two counts of inflicting GBH, two counts of causing GBH with intent, one count of attempting to cause GBH with intent, one count of unlawful wounding and one count of wounding with intent.
Mr Partridge told the court he phoned 999 after he was run over.
He said: “When I came around I was on the pavement and confused.
“I didn’t know Mark had been trapped under the taxi but I saw there were paramedics surrounding him.”
Mr Partridge said after the crash he saw some of the railway workers pulled Rehman from the taxi and “ragged him around”.
He said: “They hit him. I don’t know how many times or who hit him. The driver ended up sat against the wall at the back of the taxi when police arrived.”
One of the men, Meshack White, 19, said he was saved from being crushed by the taxi’s wheels when his brother pulled him to safety.
Mr White said: “I felt the impact to my back and my head smashed the windscreen.
“I still have glass stuck in my head now.
“The taxi carried on forward after it hit us and it was going to run over my chest.
“Luckily my brother grabbed me and stopped the wheels running over me.
“Then everyone ran from each side of the road. A lady took her jacket off and gave it to me because my head was bleeding.”
Nicholas Jones, defending, said Rehman was assaulted and threatened by a number of the railway workers before the incident on Wood Street.
Mr Jones said: “The group recognised the taxi driver, who had been a witness against one of them in a previous court case, and there were shouts of abuse from across the road.
“The group shouted ‘You’re a pussy, we will get you’ and Rehman was punched by one of the group.”
Mr Jones said the group also shouted the threat: “We will kill your brother.”
All six of the railway workers denied there was an incident before they were run over.
The trial continues.