Northern Ireland

Woman taxi driver describes knife ordeal in Ballymagroarty, Derry

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Media captionA woman taxi driver describes how a youth held a knife to her throat during an attempted hijacking in Londonderry.

A taxi driver has been describing how a youth held a knife to her throat during an attempted hijacking in Londonderry.

Linda Brady said she was left terrified after the teenager, a passenger in her taxi, put his hand to her mouth and ordered her to hand over her car.

However, she refused and the youth ran off following the incident in Ballymagroarty early on Wednesday.

Ms Brady said she will not be deterred from doing her job.

The ordeal happened as Ms Brady was driving the youth from Rockmills to Carleton Court.

He brought out a knife and held it to her throat and demanded the keys for the car.

She said she "felt his arms coming round my throat with a knife and his hand over my mouth".

Ms Brady said: "He started shouting: 'Keep driving straight, keep driving straight, ' so I kept driving.

"I felt myself out of breath, so I said: 'Son, would you please remove your hand from my mouth, I can't breath right'.

Demanded keys

"He released his hand from my mouth slightly. He still kept shouting keep driving on, keep driving."

Then the hijacker told her to pull over, get out of the car and give her the keys.

"I don't know what came over me but I thought: 'I'm not giving him my car'.

"He started shouting at me 'give me the car' and I said: 'No. I can't give you the car that's my living.' And he ran off."

Ms Brady said she had been very frightened during the ordeal and was "shaking".

"I just thought: 'I've got to keep calm' and, to be honest with you, I think I might have been a bit calmer than him.

"But it was just my own head was telling me to stay calm. I thought he was going to drive me somewhere, then I wondered if he wanted my car to joyride in.

"I rang the office straight away because I didn't want him doing it to someone else."

Looking back, she said she did not know where she got the courage to stand up to the youth.

'I was shaking'

"I went into my sister's and I burst out crying," she said.

"I was shaking. It could have been lot worse but I stood up to him and that's what my main object was, was to stand up to him.

Ms Brady said she was determined to keep on driving her taxi.

"I don't have a choice. I have to work. At the end of the day there's not a lot of work out there and money is tight. I'm not going to let him put me off.

"He could have hurt me but he didn't, so thank God for that."

The would-be hijacker has been described as being about 17, 5ft 5ins tall, slim with short dark hair and was wearing a dark blue hooded top.

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.