Indian-origin taxi driver convicted of sexual assault in UK

Indian-origin taxi driver convicted of sexual assault in UK

LONDON: An Indian-origin taxi driver has been convicted of sexually assaulting a female passenger when she was in an “extremely vulnerable condition” during a ride back to her home in London. Temur Shah, who worked for ride hailing company Uber, was found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court in west London on Monday after a week-long trial.

The 45-year-old has been bailed ahead of sentencing at the same court on November 12, Scotland Yard said. “Shah despicably took advantage of his position as a trusted licensed driver and sexually assaulted a passenger in a vulnerable state. His conviction was down to a meticulous investigation which left the jury in no doubt as to his guilt,” said Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, from the Roads and Transport Policing Command.

“If you ever experience unwanted sexual behaviour, report it to the police. You will always be taken seriously and the incident will be fully investigated,” he said. Shah’s guilty verdict followed an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Taxi and Private Hire Policing Team part of the Roads and Transport Policing Command which is part-funded by Transport for London (TfL) to tackle attacks on the city’s public transport.

Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing and Community Safety at TfL, said: “This attack on a vulnerable passenger was predatory and disgusting, and we are pleased to see that Shah has been convicted. I would like to thank the young woman for coming forward and reporting this so TfL and the police could investigate and take action against the driver.

“We expect the highest standards from TfL licensed taxi and private hire drivers. Not only has Shah been convicted but immediate licensing action was taken to prevent him from continuing in his role as a TfL licensed private hire driver.”

The offence dates back to early hours of January 15 last year when Shah picked up a 27-year-old woman, who was feeling unwell, from an address in central London. During the journey, Shah stopped the vehicle and insisted she should sit next to him in the front.

After driving for a bit longer, the passenger said she was going to vomit. Shah stopped the cab and leaned over her to open the front passenger door. While doing this he sexually touched her and continued to sexually assault her even as she leant out of the vehicle being sick, the Met Police said.

The passenger stayed in his taxi despite the assault as she had no battery left on her phone and could not call for assistance. She also did not have any money but she told Shah not to touch her again. Afterwards, Shah dropped the passenger off near her home in north London and the matter was reported to the police.

The Taxi and Private Hire Policing Team then carried out a thorough investigation, conducting enquiries with Uber and the person who booked the private hire vehicle on the victim’s behalf. They also collected an extensive amount of CCTV and viewed GPS data from Uber.

Evidence pointed towards Shah as the driver and he was arrested for sexual assault in February last year and released under investigation. He was charged with sexual assault in January this year and convicted this week. The Met Police’s Taxi and Private Hire Policing Team issued an appeal following this week’s hearing for passengers to be extra vigilant when hiring a private taxi.

“A minicab will have a licence displayed in the window (and the driver must be wearing a photo ID card) and it needs to be booked in advance with a licensed minicab firm, the Met statement noted. PTI

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