Taxi Driver stabbed by Customer who took Cab on Joyride

The daughter of a murdered taxi driver detailed how her father was killed by a customer who then took his cab for a joyride.

Taxi Driver stabbed by Customer who took Cab on Joyride f

"I thought it was an awful mistake."

A taxi driver was lured to a dark country lane where he was stabbed in the chest by his customer in November 2022.

Mohammed Istakhar managed to jump out of his cab and run for his life. But Oliver Pugh pursued him and stabbed him in the arm and thigh.

He collapsed and died “in his own pool of blood”.

Having not returned home at 7 am, his wife Nasira Mughal phoned him 100 times not knowing her husband was already dead.

A stranger answered his phone.

Nasira and her son managed to track down where Mohammed had gone when a security guard at a nearby football ground showed them CCTV.

They arrived to find a heavy police presence and saw Mohammed’s body being taken away.

His daughter Mariaam Hijab said her father had been a taxi driver for 20 years and he was the heart of the family.

Taxi Driver stabbed by Customer who took Cab on Joyride 2

After the horrific killing, Pugh and his accomplice Luca De-Fazio took Mohammed’s cab for a joyride.

They removed the number plates and taxi livery.

They crashed into a farmer’s back fence before fleeing the scene and disposing of the two weapons.

Mariam said: “Thinking of my dad’s last moments in the dark running for his life is like something out of a horror film.

“I still can’t stop thinking, why my dad?

“There needs to be tighter regulations for taxi drivers driving so late.

“And there needs to be more education in schools about knife crime so these young people know the impact taking a knife out has on families.”

Mohammed had been a taxi driver since he was 18 and worked long shifts around Birmingham suburbs and the city centre.

She continued: “For as long as I could remember, Dad worked back-to-back shifts and was barely home.

“He always said he did it for us, to provide for our family. We told him he worked too hard but he was dedicated to giving us a good home and a good life. We were very grateful to him.

“Over the years, although Dad worked for a private company which wasn’t safe like Uber, we never worried about him.

“He was muscular and strong so I always thought, who would mess with him? Dad also never worried himself.

“He didn’t bother with dashcams, cameras and protective screens. He trusted people.”

Recalling the night of his murder, Mariam explained:

“Mum left Dad some curry out to eat, and he came home whilst we were all asleep to have his food, he played with the cat then headed back out at 3 am.

“In the morning, I headed off to work. Whilst Dad usually got home for 7 am latest.

“But later that day I got a call from my brother whilst I was seeing a patient at work. I stepped outside to take it and he was shouting that Dad was dead.

“I thought it was an awful mistake.”

She soon found out that her father had not come home from work that morning.

Mariam said: “My brother begged the police, and they described Dad’s clothing. He knew it was him.

“I rushed home, and detectives were there. They confirmed Dad had been stabbed to death. Bursting into tears, none of us could believe it was real.

“After all these years of him being safe out there. My world ended that day.”

After gathering CCTV footage, police arrested Oliver Pugh and Luca De-Fazio, two men Mohammed had picked up from Broad Street.

Mariam said: “Oliver lured Dad to a remote country lane by his home. He pretended to get cash, but both him and Luca returned with two large kitchen knives.

“Oliver sat next to Dad in the car, and stabbed him ferociously in the chest.

“Dad managed to jump out, and he ran down the road in the darkness, running for his life.

“But they hunted him down. Dad begged for his life, and told them ‘I have a family, I have kids’.

“But Oliver Pugh stabbed again in the thigh and arm. Dad collapsed and died in a pool of his own blood.

“Hearing how Dad was killed for nothing, and targeted at complete random, broke me. All because he picked them up that night.”

In September 2023, Pugh was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum of 27 years.

De-Fazio was cleared of murder but pleaded guilty to possession of a knife and sentenced to one month.

Mariam says: “In court, Oliver and Luca blamed each other for the killing.

“We soon heard how Oliver had boasted in a Dixy chicken’s shop earlier that night that he was going to ‘rob a taxi tonight’.

“Clearly, he was malicious and inhumane, and it would’ve been anyone targeted that night.

“Yet, throughout the trial, Oliver kept his head down, trying to fool the jury that he had remorse and he was a good person.

“But as his sentence of 27 years was read out, Oliver’s façade disappeared and he leapt up, screaming at the judge and me and my partner.

“I was glad the jury saw him for the monster that he really was. But Luca’s result was sickening.

“I was appalled how he could serve just a month after being so involved in my dad’s killing.

“Now, whilst Oliver sits in prison, and Luca walks the streets, my family and I grieve Dad.”

Taxi Driver stabbed by Customer who took Cab on Joyride

Mariam has now called for tighter regulations for taxi drivers working so late and for more knife crime awareness in schools.

She added: “Thanks to those two thugs, my brothers and sisters no longer have a father.

“My mum had lost her husband of 25 years; her best friend in the world. She visits Dad’s grave every day.

“Whilst I just try to remember him for his big heart and how much he loved us all. Not a minute goes by where we don’t miss him.

“Knife crime destroys so many lives.”

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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