English resident shot in taxi row

By: DAISY SAMPSON

daisy.sampson@the-resident.com

AN ENGLISH resident of Quarteira was involved in an altercation over a seven euro taxi fare after a night out in Vilamoura.

According to Correio da Manhã, Stephen Harding, 38, punched the taxi driver, Fernando Manuel dos Santos, 48, leading to the taxi driver firing four “defensive” shots.

Stephen Harding was allegedly drunk when the taxi driver picked him up at 4.10am in the early hours of April 3. Mr. Harding fell asleep in the taxi and was woken when asked to pay the fare of 6.15 euros for the meter and a further 80 cêntimos for the call to the taxi office.

The taxi driver claims that Mr. Harding said he had no intention of paying for the journey whereby the driver responded with an explanation of the fares and his requirement to pay them immediately.  At this point, Mr. Harding allegedly walked away from the car before returning in an “aggressive manner”.

Stephen Harding is accused of hitting Fernando dos Santos in the face “with force”, after which Sr. dos Santos produced a gun and fired “in self defence”.

Two shots were fired from the magnum 32 into the ground “as a warning”, a further two shots are believed to have reached Harding as he was fleeing from the scene.

Stephen Harding was described by the taxi driver as being about two metres (six feet five inches) tall and weighing approximately 130 kilos (20 stone).

Injuries

Fernando dos Santos told The Resident that he went to the Loulé health centre for treatment but did not require hospitalisation for his facial injuries.  He returned again later complaining of “dizziness” but did not require an x-ray.

Stephen Harding was transported by ambulance to Faro central hospital (HCF) and admitted at 6.50am. Surgery was not necessary as the bullets had “entered and left his body without damaging any vital organs”, a HCF spokesperson told The Resident.

Fernando dos Santos, a taxi driver for 17 years, justified the firing of the gun by explaining, “I am certain that if I hadn’t been armed then I would not be alive to tell my story”.

The Resident attempted to contact Stephen Harding for a response to the claims but he was unavailable for comment.

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