Cabbie murder sparks call for safety action

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:04 25 August 2010



A CABBIE assaulted only an hour before another driver was murdered has demanded more security measures and in car CCTV to prevent further attacks.

A CABBIE assaulted only an hour before another driver was murdered has demanded more security measures and in car CCTV to prevent further attacks.

Father-of-two Michael Okonko Nwosu, 49, of Plumstead High Street, Plumstead, was killed on Saturday, found slumped in the street behind his minicab on Cookhill Road, Abbey Wood at 4.50am.

The doors of his silver Ford Galaxy were open, but nothing had been stolen. He was taken to Royal London Hospital with serious head injuries but died later the same day.

Just an hour earlier, Farid Darwish, 31, a driver for Data Cars, based in Eltham High Street, suffered a black eye when he was hit and punched and had beer cans thrown at him when he refused to pick up five passengers.

Mr Darwish then lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a set of bollards. He has joined other cabbies across the borough who are now demanding more security measures are brought in following the brutal murder.

Mr Darwish said: "We need more protection and we need the police to respond quicker.

"I waited 20 minutes for help. More needs to be done. Black cab drivers have a window protecting them from passengers. We don't have that. We need CCTV in the cars.

"I may see these people again, and that scares me. People in the street don't want to help us, because they are scared.

"It's terrible what happened to this driver. We need more protection."

No one has been charged with Mr Okonko Nwosu's murder, and police have urged anyone with information to come forward. Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manning, who is leading the investigation, said: "Michael was a law abiding hardworking family man who has been brutally murdered in the street whilst carrying out his everyday business.

"It is essential that anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area around that time on Saturday morning does come forward."

Amjad Shaheen, 50, from Plumstead, a colleague of Mr Okonko-Nwosu at Amber cars, based in Plumstead High Street, said: "It's scary in this job. We were shocked and we were scared when we heard about our colleague. The police don't do enough."

Jayesh Patel, 56, from Plumstead, who also works for amber cars said: "We need protection for cab drivers. It's frightening nowadays. I don't feel protected at all.

"We don't want to take the law into our own hands but when they're in the car we have no option."

Dalbir Suri, a driver at Alpha Cars in Station Approach, Kidbrooke, said: "I do think there should be more CCTV and lighting at night time and more PCSOs. There should definitely be a stronger police presence on the streets, even if it is just community support officers."

A spokesperson for Greenwich Police said: "Thankfully this murder is a rare incident and there is no evidence to suggest at this stage that Michael was the victim of a robbery.

"Officers are currently in the process of visiting all cab companies within the borough to offer reassurance and advice.

Any witnesses or anyone with information on the murder should call the incident room on 020 8721 4054.

l A 27-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were arrested in connection with the murder investigation. They were both bailed to return at a later date.

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