Actress Ruth Madeley tells how taxi driver took her wheelchair away

Ruth Madeley (PA Archive)
10:13am, Fri 16 Jul 2021
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Actress Ruth Madeley has told how a taxi driver took her wheelchair away following an argument outside a London train station.

The Bafta nominee, who starred in BBC One drama Years And Years, said the man refused to drop her outside Euston station’s accessible entrance because heavy traffic made it “too difficult” and it would “take too long”.

The 33-year-old, who has spina bifida, said the driver told her he had seen her stand up and “knew I could walk” before demanding the fare, despite the journey being pre-paid.

During the dispute, Madeley said he took her wheelchair, put it in the boot of his car and refused to give it back.

She wrote on Instagram: “When I tried explaining this on the street, he became very agitated & in sheer frustration, HE TOOK MY WHEELCHAIR from behind me without warning & carried it away to put in the boot of his taxi, leaving me on the side of the road.

“When I asked for it back, he refused.”

She added that she was travelling with her mother who was able to recover the chair from the driver, “although he tried his best to stop her”.

Transport for London described the incident as “utterly appalling” and said it would investigate.

Graham Robinson, TfL’s general manager for taxi and private hire, said in a statement: “This sounds like an utterly appalling incident.

“We have contacted Ruth for more details so we can carry out a full and urgent investigation.”

The Writers Guild Awards 2019 – London (PA Archive)

Madeley said she had reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police but was told it was not a “hate crime”.

“I was shut down & made to feel as though I was making a fuss over nothing,” she added.

The Metropolitan Police said no investigation was ongoing.

The incident occurred last month on the day it was announced that Madeley would star in BBC Two’s factual drama Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won, co-written by Bafta-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne.

Screenwriter Russell T Davies, TV presenter Lucy Alexander and actress Anna Nightingale were among those who shared messages of support.

Richard Kramer, chief executive of disability charity Sense, said: “What has happened to Ruth is shocking and should be investigated.

“Sadly, we hear far too often from disabled people that have experienced discrimination.

“We must commit as a society to tackling inequality and create a more inclusive society, removing the barriers that disabled people face.”

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