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IN THE NEWS


JAIL FOR TEEN WHO THREW AMMONIA OVER CABBIES DURING STRING OF ATTACKS IN WATFORD


A 19-year-old man has been jailed for seven and a half years after attacking four taxi drivers in Watford last year. HertsLive reports that Reggie Sime, of no fixed address, commited four sepa- rate attacks between September and October 2020. Sime threw ammonia over all four of his victims whilst demanding they give him money. The first attack happened on Septem- ber 21 in the early hours. Sime booked a taxi to Watford. On arrival Sime got out of the taxi, walked to the drivers door, demanded money and sprayed ammonia on the drivers face. The driver, in his 40s, recalls being in instant pain and scared so he handed Sime £165 before calling the emergen- cy services. The second attack was just five days later; when a taxi driver attended to collect a fare, Sime opened the door and threatened the cabbie. He demanded money and poured ammo- nia on the driver’s lap. The cabbie had a burning sensation to his nose and throat. He handed over his wallet and £170 to Sime. The third attack was two days later, on September 28. Sime called a taxi and again opened the passenger door, threatened the driver and threw a liquid in his face, immediately causing his eyes to sting. The driver tried to get out of the taxi but Sime ran around the front of the car and threw more liquid in the man’s face. The victim, a man in his 40s started chasing Sime down the road, but had to stop because of his vision becoming blurred.


Sime left the scene empty handed.


The driver has since sought medical treatment, a number of times, for vision complications. Sime’s fourth and final attack was on 1 October, when he ordered a taxi and did what he had done before; opened the passenger door before threatening the driver. He then demanded money and once again sprayed ammonia into his victim’s face. The taxi driver drove off immediately to the taxi office, washed his face, and attended hospital while his colleagues phoned the police. The victim, a man in his 30s, said in his victim statement that he was in so much pain he believed he had been sprayed with acid. The police were able to identify Sime as a suspect from the mobile phone num- ber he had used to call two of the taxis. He became wanted by the police and initial arrest enquiries were carried out at a number of locations but were unsuccessful. On October 22, Sime handed himself in at Watford Police Station. He was arrested and charged for the four attacks and held in custody. Sime pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, two counts of attempted rob- bery and four counts of possession of


SIX MONTHS


181 DAYS 4344 HOURS 15638400 SECONDS


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an offensive weapon (liquid ammonia) on November 11. On Friday, 22 January at St Albans Crown Court, Sime was handed a seven and a half year sentence. Following Sime’s sentencing, Detective Constable Andy Metselaar, from the Watford Local Crime Unit said: “The four victims were men simply doing their job and earning a living when they were callously attacked by Sime. I would first like to publicly pay tribute to the victims and the wider taxi com- munity, who gave us such fantastic support during the course of our inves- tigation. “The third victim had vision complica- tions with both his eyes for a period of time, and he still continues to suffer from occasional discomfort now. The other three victims also suffered initial pain, redness and swelling following the attack and were off work for a peri- od of time. Thankfully all four victims have been able to return to work, but it could have easily been a different story. “Sime’s actions were despicably cruel, and provides an insight into the sort of person he is. I sincerely hope he uses his prison sentence as time to reflect on why he chose to attack four innocent people in pursuit of money. No one should feel in fear when they go to work and I hope today’s sentencing provides each of the victims with a sense of closure on their ordeal.” Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “These incidents were deeply frightening for the taxi drivers affected and my thoughts are with them. People should be able to go about their daily business free from any fear of violence or loss of their livelihood.”


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FEBRUARY 2021


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