NewsCrime Desk

'Maniac' taxi driver finally off the road and in jail after 64 convictions

Morufu Animashaun
Morufu Animashaun

IRELAND’s most infamous rogue taxi driver is finally off the road after he was jailed for a string of driving offences.

Morufu Animashaun, who clocked up 64 convictions in a 10-year career behind the wheel, had constantly stuck his two fingers up to the law by driving his taxi despite the fact he had been disqualified, had no insurance and didn’t have a taxi permit.

At one point in 2014 Gardaí and the taxi regulator seized three cars from him – but he still kept plying his trade as a cabbie and ignored his growing list of convictions.

However, the Drogheda-based dad-of-four was last week sent to prison for nine months after racking up an incredible number of convictions.

Twice in recent weeks he was caught red-handed driving a car complete with a taxi sign, despite the fact that he was disqualified for four years in April 2015.

On August 1, the bogus taximan was stopped by a member of the Gardaí in Dublin with a passenger on board.

Not only was Animashaun not licenced to carry passengers or to act as a taxi driver, he also had no insurance, no driver’s licence and was banned from the road.

He then gave a false name to the officer, who decided to make an arrest and he was later charged.

On August 21, Animashaun was pulled over on the M50 by an eagle-eyed officer who knew he had previously been disqualified from driving.

Evidence was given that he had dozens of previous convictions, mostly for road traffic related offences – including driving in a bus lane, speeding and driving the wrong way around a roundabout.

Described in a court as a French national with four children, his lawyer said that he now planned to do a course in business administration and had put his cars up for sale.

He gave evidence at a previous bail hearing that he owns three taxis, including a 2010 registered Renault Scenic and two Kias.

He has been in Ireland for 17 years and had previously worked as a waiter before becoming a self-employed taxi driver, it was heard in court.

His lawyer asked the judge to keep in mind that Animashaun’s wife is now the sole bread-winner for the family.

His lawyer also explained that he had thought he had won his appeal against the disqualification and blamed his mistake on being “misinformed” by his solicitor.

In 2014, the Sunday World exposed the 48-year-old as a rogue taxi driver as he ferried passengers around without a licence or insurance.

Animashaun drove around in a Louth-registered Chevrolet despite knowing he shouldn’t be working as a cabbie.

Sources told how Animashaun had arrogantly told staff from the taxi regulator’s office that he would continue to operate despite the courts repeatedly convicting him.

At that stage he had three different taxis impounded and seized by the regulator and was regarded by officers as being one of the most serious rogue drivers operating in the country.

Despite being caught several time, he continued to operate as if nothing has happened.

In November of last year he was told by Judge Flann Brennan at Drogheda District Court: “You are a maniac who thinks he has a God-given right to drive.

“You should look for alternative employment as the last thing you are suitable for is taxi driving.”

On that occasion he was before the court for driving the wrong way around a roundabout. He was also charged with speeding up a one-way street at 144kph while disqualified and on his way to court for another driving offence.

In September 2014 he was stopped at Parnell Street in Dublin with no licence or insurance and had his car and taxi plate seized by staff from the regulator’s office while gardaí watched.

The previous month he was detained at Dorset Street for a string of breaches of the law and had another car and plate seized.

In June 2013 he was also disqualified from driving for six months after reaching the maximum 12 penalty points.