Cabbie suffers horrific injuries in bite attack after trying to help stranded Hartlepool woman

BITTEN: Stephen Sanderson's injuries
BITTEN: Stephen Sanderson's injuries

CABBIE Stephen Sanderson suffered these horrific injuries during a savage bite attack because he tried to do a good deed and help a stranded woman get home.

His injuries were so shocking his five-year-old daughter ran away from him when she saw him. Stephen, 37, needed surgery to repair his face and had been left traumatised and unable to work at night.

Today, with vicious thug Michael Hannon behind bars, Stephen told how his act of kindness ended in a terrifying attack which has wrecked his life.

Dad-of-three Stephen said: “When I walked in the room my little girl ran away from me in tears. It was the worst feeling in my life.

“A simple act of kindness has ruined my life.”

Stephen was working the night shift on November 24 last year when he collected a woman who had had a row with her boyfriend Hannon, 33, and she had no money.

He gave her a lift to The Green, Seaton Carew, and was just writing out a business card so she could pay him the next day when Hannon appeared and opened Stephen’s cab door and lunged at him.

Stephen said: “He didn’t say a single word. He pulled me towards him with one hand and hit me with his other.

“I fell internally into the cab and he dived on top of me and continued the attack for what felt like a lifetime.

“He then sunk his teeth into my face and bit into my lip. I was terrified. I was desperately trying to get away.”

Stephen eventually managed to struggle free and drive-off.

Stephen added; “One of my front teeth snapped, there was a big chunk missing of my lip and blood pouring from my face.”

Stephen, from the Headland, spent the night in A&E at the University Hospital of North Tees for treatment.

He need surgery to his face and repeated trips to the dentist after his release to repair his teeth.

When his family saw the extend of his injuries they were horrified, with his own daughter fleeing in horror at the sight.

And although his physical wounds have healed, Stephen says the mental trauma of the attack has been long-lasting.

Stephen, a driver for Streamline Taxis, said: “When I walked in the room my little girl ran away from me in tears. It was the worst feeling in my life.

“I find it amazing how someone could do that to somebody else for no reason. It was absolutely unprovoked and all for doing someone a good deed.”

“My injuries are alright now but I’ve juts lost all interest in the job because of the amount of trouble and hassle we have to contend with on a night. I absolutely detest the job.”

Stephen, who also has two sons aged eight and 15, now refuses to work late at night even though he knows it is costing him money.

“It doesn’t compare with my kids’ happiness. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, but I’m going to have to look for another job,” he said.

Hannon, of The Green, Seaton Carew, was jailed for 20 months at Teesside Crown Court earlier this month after he pleaded guilty to

unlawful wounding.

Another town cabbie was injured by a knife-wielding passenger in another incident in Musgrave Walk on Saturday, March 8.

The 23 Taxis driver suffered cuts to his hands during the ordeal at 2am and was taken to North Tees hospital.

Such incidents have led to chiefs recommending CCTV cameras are installed in cabs to protect drivers.

Stephen, married to Susan, 37, a full-time mum, said: “I think it would be a massive help. You hear about things that happened to me but you never think it is going to happen to you.

“I know a lot of lads who have had car keys taken off them and you hear all sorts of horrible stories.

“They are all lads with responsibilities and families and are just trying to do a job.

“A lot of people don’t think taxi drivers have to put up with it. When you explain what happens they are shocked.”