AN INNOCENT bystander was brutally stabbed four times by a thug who was angry that his attempt to rob a minicab driver had been foiled.
The man, wearing a balaclava and brandishing a knife, went to the offices of Embassy Direct cab company at about 9.45pm on Saturday and demanded his mobile phone, which he said he had left in the minicab.
When he was told it was in the hands of the police, he turned on the nearest person.
The general manager of the firm in Greenford Avenue, Hanwell, known as Ali, aid: "The controller said he looked high on drugs and had been drinking. He said he was black, looked about 6ft 7in and built in the same manner.
"He grabbed the guy nearest to him, a friend of one of the drivers who was waiting for him to come back, and kept stabbing him.
"The injured man fell to the floor and the attacked just walked out, cool as a cucumber. There was a BMW waiting for him, which was either black or dark blue."
About 20 minutes earlier, the attacker had been dropped off in the Windmill Park Estate, Southall, after being picked up from a pub in South Ealing.
At the destination, the thug tried to rob the driver, but failed.
Ali added: "Somehow the driver managed to push him out of the car and drive off. He called the police and they took the phone which had been left in his car. It's the first time anything like this has happened. It's scared everybody in the office. The police said we were a priority and there would be a car here within minutes if he showed up."
The victim, who is in his twenties, is recovering in hospital and, Ali was told, was out of danger on Monday.
Ali added: "The phrase wrong place at the wrong time comes to mind. He didn't know what was going on. He was just waiting for his friend and ended up in hospital with near fatal wounds."
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Ryan, said: "It's an ongoing investigation. Anyone who thinks they may know the suspect should not approach him, but call the police straight away."
Anyone with information should call Ealing CID on 020 8246 1058, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.