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Englishman savagely beaten by taxi driver in Paceville, says police showing lack of urgency

Helena Grech Wednesday, 23 September 2015, 09:35 Last update: about 9 years ago

A 34 year-old English man was savagely beaten in Paceville earlier last week, just days before Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela pledged to increase police presence in the area.

Nik Jagatia was left with a fractured nose, eight stitches across the eye, four head wounds, a black eye, severely damaged teeth, extensive bruising on his lower back, a persistent headache as well as memory loss after he was brutally and unjustly attacked in the early hours last Wednesday morning around the centre of Paceville. The Malta Independent met with Jagatia in order to hear his version of events.

Jagatia and friends where at a nightclub in Paceville last Tuesday evening, for the farewell drinks of a Swiss friend Olivia Neumann, who was due to leave the country the following day. He said that after seeing how inebriated his friend Neumann  was, he decided that they should make their way home, at which point Neumann and Jagatia proceeded to walk towards Triq San Gorg, where one may find an abundance of white taxi services. Neumann then decided that she would rather go back into Paceville, according to Jagatia, and for reasons that may be attributed to her alcohol-fuelled state, she decided to run back towards the centre of Paceville.

At that point, an unknown man, identified by Jagatia as a taxi driver belonging to the white-taxi services, jumped out brandishing what was first thought to be a golf club but is now believed to be an extendable metal baton. The man then told Jagatia that he was not permitted to continue down the street, in the same direction as Neumann, but had to walk the opposite way, towards Spinola. Jagatia said that he “did not want any trouble” and immediately proceeded down the opposite way, thereby following the orders given to him. He then circled the block, re-entering Paceville through Triq Elija Zammit. He said that he remembers seeing the nightclub sign, being hit hard on the side of his lower back, and the next thing he knew he was on a bed at Mater Dei hospital, the following day.

Jagatia described the feeling of “total shock” upon realizing that he had woken up in a hospital bed; battered, bruised and broken. Due to the severity of the attack, and the blunt trauma to the head, his memory of that actual attack is non-existent.

The fact that he was alone with a girl in Paceville, in the early hours of the morning, could have led the person/persons responsible for the attack to believe that Neumann was in some sort of danger prompting him/them to act in an extremely aggressive manner. In addition to this, due to the recent knife-attack in Paceville by a Libyan man, and the current climate of fear being felt by the general population with regard to migrants coming from certain areas and backgrounds, it is reasonable to deduce that Jagatia was incorrectly and unjustly racially profiled due to his appearance. At this point it is not known whether the individual who ordered Jagatia to walk in the opposite direction of Neumann and the individual responsible for the attack, whether by himself or with assistance from others, is the same person.

After being discharged from Mater Dei Hospital last Wednesday, Jagatia said he immediately went to the St Julian’s police station in order to file a report and make a formal statement. Until that point the only information that the police had is from when he was in transit to the hospital, “bloodied and concussed.” Jagatia said he was brushed off due to a lack of paperwork required from Mater Dei. He also said that the police told him “it does not surprise him that white taxi drivers carry weapons, Paceville is a dangerous place.”

Jagatia proceeded to seek assistance from the British Embassy, which helped him in organising all the necessary paperwork and certificates from Mater Dei. Jagatia said the police’s response to his horrendous experience left him feeling “disheartened” and “frustrated.” He relayed his concerns to the British Embassy, who promptly contacted the Malta Police Force and helped to speed up investigations.

Jagatia revisited the St Julian’s police station some days later, as instructed by the British Embassy. He was told to speak either to Police Sergeant 1543, or Police Constable Matthew Spagniola. To his dismay, neither were available for consultation. Jagatia said he then asked about whether he could finally give a formal statement on the events that transpired as well as give additional information regarding the man in question, but was told that they were already aware of all that took place, and that investigations were already underway. Jagatia expressed concern at this response, as nobody from the police force spoke to him about his version of events.

After feeling frustrated and let down, Jagatia said there was little more he could do, but ask for a copy of the original report published, containing information of his experience that was relayed while being rushed to Mater Dei. He concluded by saying “I’m a little frustrated by the lack of urgency or professionalism that anyone at the station is showing.”

Olivia Neumann’s version of events

It was 16 September in the early morning. After much of fun and a few drinks I lost my friend Nik around 3am near Paceville. Back in the club Plush I started looking after the others from our group, but I couldn’t find them. So around 3:20am I decided to go home also because I neither was carrying my phone nor cash. While taking the stairs I was thinking about asking someone to give me a lift, just female drivers of course. Downstairs I found a white taxi by the street with the driver inside. I got closer to the car so that I could see the person in it. Although there was no light in the car I saw a man with light hair and deep clothes, kind of dark green, not too young, rather big and bit chubby. I asked if he would drive me home and wait till I got the cash there, so I could pay him. He responded just with a 'yes' and asked where I live. After I got into the car and we were driving for few minutes, suddenly he grabbed my hand and forced me to touch his genitals. Shocked, I took my hand back on my knees and he began driving very fast. Then it came clearly to my mind; I had to get out of this car immediately and automatically I grabbed the door handle, but it was locked. The craziest things came to my mind. Then I wrapped my shirt around my elbow and started to hit the windowpane while screaming at him that I am going to break it if he didn’t stop. He answered 'okay, okay' and stopped. I jumped out of the car and just ran.

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