Richard Hartley-Parkinson for Metro.co.ukThursday 16 Mar 2017 10:32 am
An Uber driver has been suspended after it was alleged that he assaulted a passenger and racially abused her one-year-old daughter.
Annastazia Merrett said she was hit twice by the driver when she was dropped off in Elephant and Castle.
She said the ‘Asian’ man threw keys in her face and referred to her father as a slave.
Uber said the private hire driver ‘strongly denied’ the allegations and they had received ‘very conflicting stories’ but said they had prevented him from using the app while the investigation was ongoing.
Annastazia said that she was left with a black eye following the attack and that she hit him back in ‘self defence’.
Annastazia said: ‘It was the most horrible experience of my life.
‘The most horrific thing is that the police just let him get back in the car and drive off to collect his next customer. What if he does worse to someone else?
‘I was trying to get Savannah’s baby seat out of the car and unlock the heavy gate at the same time so I asked him politely for a hand.
‘When I dropped my keys he picked them up and threw them in my daughter’s face. He called me a “white b*tch” and said Savannah’s dad must be ‘a slave’.
‘What kind of man does that? Like any mother who had seen what had just happened to my daughter I moved towards him and he took a swipe at me.
‘Admittedly, I hit him back, but it was self-defence. He punched me again and tried to drag me into his car. By that time I was screaming and trying to phone the police.
‘My neighbours could hear what was going on in the street and the guy got back in his vehicle. I was terrified.’
Police said they were called and a community resolution was agreed upon by both parties.
The mum-of-one claims the driver made sexist remarks to her throughout the journey after a disagreement over whether she could fit Savannah’s car seat.
Annastazia said: ‘He tried to tell me it wasn’t necessary and I told him it was against the law for her not to use it. My child’s safety is more important than him trying to save time.
‘He kept saying to me “I don’t listen to a woman” and “I tell a woman what to do, not the other way round’. His views were disgusting.
An Uber spokesman said: ‘We have spoken to both the rider and driver about this incident and received very conflicting stories.
‘We’re currently liaising with the police to establish exactly what happened.
‘Whilst the private hire driver strongly denies these serious allegations, we have prevented him from being able to use our app while the investigation continues.’
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 8.21pm on Saturday, March 11, to reports of an assault in south-east London.
‘Officers attended and a woman reported that she had been punched in the face by the driver of a private hire car.
‘Officers spoke to the driver who reported that he had been assaulted by the woman.
‘The officers at the scene used their discretion and concluded that there were not enough grounds to arrest either party and a community resolution was agreed by all.
‘The following day the woman attended a south London police station and said she was not happy with the resolution.
‘Officers are reviewing the case and will be speaking to both parties involved. Enquiries continue.’