Go Carz taxi driver jailed after abducting woman and sexually assaulting her
A taxi driver who abducted a woman on a night out, forced her to get into another car and groped her breast has been jailed for 19 months.
Married father-of-two Raja Ahmed, 28, was driving for Go Carz when he picked up his victim outside the Three Furnaces in Madeley, Telford, on New Year's Eve 2018.
He drove her to an industrial estate, made her get into another car and drove her down the M54, in the opposite direction to her Telford home.
During the terrifying ordeal, he put his hand down her top and grabbed her breast.
She desperately texted her father and best friend "help me" and that she thought he was taking her to Birmingham.
Prosecutor Ian Ball said: "It was around about 12.30am. She approached his car. She had not pre-booked but he agreed to take her home. He started driving in the opposite direction to her home address. He drove onto an industrial estate and asked her to get out of the car and into a black Jaguar.
"She was fearful. He went onto the M54 and started heading towards Wolverhampton. He groped her right breast and she became frightened and upset.
"She was in tears. She texted her friend to say 'please help me' and 'I don't know where I am'.
"She told him her grandmother was ill, and for some reason that made him stop, change direction and take her home."
Mr Ball also said the victim has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, prescribed anti-depressants and still feels scared because "he knows where I live and I know nothing about him".
Ahmed, of Hayes Road, Arleston, pleaded guilty to sexual assault. He has since had his taxi license revoked and has been working as a self-employed car salesman.
Peter Hemming, defending Ahmed, said: "He is a married man with two children, and I can't imagine the upset these proceedings will have had on their family life."
But Judge Anthony Lowe said to Ahmed: "The fact you are a married man makes it more worrying. It shows a cavalier attitude towards sexual activities and women.
"There was an element of abduction. When anybody gets in a taxi, they are trusting the driver to take them home. The driver should look after them without taking advantage. She must have felt terrified."
Judge Lowe also gave Ahmed a sexual harm prevention order for five years, ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for the next 10 years and told him not to contact his victim.
Statement from Go Carz
In response to the incident, Go Carz managing director Carl Wilday said the firm "abhors" Ahmed's behaviour.
“Mr Ahmed was subscribed to Go Carz’s system for a short period in 2017 having come to us from another private hire operator, he was immediately and permanently suspended from our system following this allegation," said Mr Wilday.
"The incident arose from a journey that was not booked that Mr Ahmed undertook on that night. We advise all passengers to never get into a vehicle not booked from any private hire operator.
"Go Carz takes the safety of passengers very seriously. All drivers are self-employed and must pass the checks and balances of their local licensing authority before they are granted a licence.
"All Go Carz drivers undertake a stringent, enhanced DBS background check, including police checks for not only actual convictions but also any previous cautions, warnings or reprimands in a person’s history. These are the same checks that are carried out for, for example, on school teachers or nursery staff.
"We also monitor any complaints received and take a zero-tolerance approach to any behaviour that raises concern. Mr Ahmed was clearly unfit to be, and should never have been granted a private hire licence, he most certainly will never be granted one in the future.
"We are deeply upset for the victim in this case and abhor Mr Ahmed’s behaviour. Thankfully in over five million bookings undertaken every year, serious incidents of this type are extraordinarily rare and the public should be assured that their safety is paramount, all booked journeys are monitored, drivers and their vehicles GPS tracked, and any complaints or feedback followed up rigorously.”
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