A mystery caller to the employers of a taxi driver whose throat was slashed in a stabbing four days earlier may hold vital clues to the attacker's identity.
As the life of the 22-year-old private hire driver, slashed in his black Skoda cab last Wednesday evening in Belle Isle, Leeds, hung by a thread, a top detective went to the scene of the brutal stabbing to make a personal plea for help.
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He appealed for the man who rang Speedline Taxis on Sunday evening with "very specific information" to get back in touch. It is believed the man, who did not leave his name or number, called the firm after reading Friday's Yorkshire Evening Post's first report about the stabbing.
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Det Supt Paul Taylor, of the West Yorkshire Homicide and Enquiry Team, also appealed for anyone who had witnessed the stabbing which left the victim with a severed trachea and punctured lung, to contact the inquiry team. The driver is seriously ill in hospital, fighting for his life.
The officer urged anyone who may have seen the "aftermath" - possibly someone running off from the cab around 8pm - to come forward and said he was sure that some residents of the Belle Isle estate had key information and possibly knew the identity of the knifeman.
Police suspect that robbery may have been the motive of the attack.
Though the driver was found severly injured in his cab near Hopes Farm Road, off the Middleton Ring Road, it is still not clear exactly where his vehicle was when he was stabbed as his deteriorating condition has prevented a full police interview.
It is believed he picked up a male fare either in Belle Isle or nearby and was directed to a cul-de-sac on the Broom estate, Belle Isle, where the driver was then attacked.
The driver managed to escape in his car after being gravely wounded and drive for about two minutes before stopping in Hopes Farm Road where a passing taxi driver found him as he dialled 999 for help.
He described his attacker as a white man, aged 25 to 35, taller than 5ft 6in, slim, with brown hair brushed forward. He wore a white outdoor jacket, which may have been hooded, and black jeans.
Mr Taylor said it was believed the taxi driver spent the hour before being stabbed in the Belle Isle or Middleton areas.
"This is an extremely serious incident where a young man has been left fighting for his life, and we are keen to speak to anyone who can help trace those responsible. It's quite likely the public may have seen his car in those areas and may have seen him carrying a passenger. Its also possible someone may have seen the attacker runniing away after the incident. It is highly likely people living on the estate have important information."
"Such incidents are fortunately infrequent, but we can not tolerate such attacks on people earning their living, and we need the help of the public. Clearly it will not only concern other taxi drivers, but other drivers. I urge the earlier caller and anyone else with information to ring either the police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.