Funeral service, vigil planned for slain London taxi driver

Friends and family will come together Thursday to say goodbye to a veteran taxi driver who died after a serious assault.

Vijay Bhatia, 64, was found without vital signs in the parking lot of the Mac’s Milk at 925 Wonderland Rd. South around 1 a.m. Saturday.

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    A funeral service has been set for Thursday, May 4 from 1-3 p.m. at Westview Funeral Chapel at 709 Wonderland Rd. North.

    A memorial candle lighting and walk will also be held Thursday from 6-8 p.m. starting at Westmount Mall and proceeding to the Mac’s Milk where the incident happened.

    London police say Bhatia picked up two passengers and was assaulted by one of them after driving them to the convenience store lot early Saturday.

    Police found both individuals and later released one without charges.

    As a result of the investigation, Cody Perkin, 23, of London has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Bhatia’s death.

    Perkin made a brief audio court appearance Tuesday morning from hospital.

    His lawyer, James Zegers, said Perkin needs to have surgery to repair a valve in his heart and he was admitted to hospital shortly after his arrest.

    Perkin has a consultation with a surgeon booked for Monday, May 15 and his next court appearance is set for Wednesday, May 17.

    Also during his brief court appearance Tuesday, Perkin was ordered not to speak with 14 individuals, including his mother.

    Zegers argued that was inhumane given Perkin could die during surgery for his condition.

    The non-association order will be re-evaluated at Perkin’s next court appearance on May 17th.

    With files from Natalie Lovie

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