Mother, 25, suffers black eye in ‘racist assault’ by Asian Uber driver who ‘called her a “white b***h” and said her mixed-race baby daughter’s father “must be a slave”‘
A mother suffered a black eye in a racist assault by an Asian Uber driver who called her a ‘white b****’ and said her daughter’s father ‘must be a slave’, she claimed today.
Annastazia Merrett alleges she was hit twice by the driver who refused to help her open a gate after dropping her off in Elephant and Castle, South London.
The 25-year-old also claimed the driver threw a set of keys in the face of her one-year-old mixed-race daughter Savannah, and referred to her father as ‘a slave’.
Police were called after they had been driven home from a wedding in Croydon, and said a community resolution was initially agreed upon by both parties.
Uber said the driver ‘strongly denied’ the allegations over the dispute on Saturday at about 8.20pm and they had received ‘very conflicting stories’ but said they had prevented him from using the app while the investigation was ongoing.
Ms Merrett claimed she was left with a black eye after the alleged attack but admitted she did hit the driver back in what she claims was ‘self defence’.
She 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****” 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.’
Ms Merrett and Savannah had been attending a friend’s wedding in Croydon that afternoon when a friend ordered them an Uber just after 7pm.
The mother-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.
Ms Merrett 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.
‘I was getting stressed and Savannah was getting upset. At one point I questioned the route he was taking because I thought he was going a longer way and I was a bit apprehensive.
‘Savannah’s dad rang me and it was only when he heard me on the phone that he started going the right way again.
‘The whole journey was just uneasy and then at the end of it all he assaults me? Quite clearly he is racist and has a deep hatred towards women and should never be driving people in the first place.’
Neither party was arrested after the altercation, which left Ms Merrett with bruising and marks to her left eye.
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.’