A TAXI driver touched a young woman’s leg when he thought she was asleep in his cab before robbing her phone when she tried to snap his registration number.
Chandrakant Chavra was jailed for six months for sexual assault and a consecutive two-and-a-half-year term for robbery.
The 55-year-old of Newey Road, Hall Green, was found guilty by a jury at Warwick Crown Court and was ordered to register as a sex offender for seven years.
The jury heard, in October 2014, after drinking on a night out in Birmingham a woman, in her 20s, approached Chavra’s taxi and agreed a £25 fare, which she paid in advance, to be taken to her North Warwickshire home.
After seeing the woman had appeared to have fallen asleep Chavra pulled up, got out and opened the rear door.
The married taxi driver made his intentions clear by putting his hand on her leg and asking her if she wanted to ‘play’.
Scared by his advance she rebuffed him so he got back into the front and set off again.
When he employer phoned her to ensure she had got home safely Chavra began to panic, hearing her tell him what had happened.
Instead of taking her home he pulled up onto some rough ground, so he could drive away without being seen.
While driving away Chavra saw a flash and realised she had taken a picture of his car.
The woman told the jury he got out the vehicle and ran at her before wrestling her to the floor, trying to get the phone as she struggled to hold on to it, hitting out and biting him.
As she clutched the phone to her chest and screamed for help Chavra bit both of her hands, forcing her to let go, before escaping.
Distressed, the victim continued to scream and was heard by Trevor and Samantha Deakin who rushed out to help her, taking her back to their home and calling her family and the police.
Chavra claimed it was a misunderstanding and he had stopped because of concerns for his her health and because he wanted another £5 for the journey. He also claimed he was going to return the phone.
But, Judge Alan Parker said it was ‘a determined attempt’ to obtain what he thought was incriminating evidence.
Guy Williamson, defending, said the sexual assault was brief and not of a serious nature and the robbery was an impulsive act committed in panic, so an immediate sentence was inappropriate. He added Chavra was of previous good character had already lost his taxi licence.
Judge Parker said: “Your attempts to prevent detection to protect yourself at the risk of a vulnerable woman makes this too serious for anything other than an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”
* A COUPLE who helped a young woman after she was sexually assaulted and robbed have been praised for their actions.
Judge Alan Parker said Trevor and Samantha Deakin should both receive commendations from the High Sheriff ‘to mark their commendable conduct’ and an award of £250 each.
He said it was about 5.30am when they were woken by the victim’s screams.
“They gave no thought at all to their own safety and, by reacting as they did, could not have known what they would face,” he added.
“But each of them left their house in turn and gave comfort to the victim and took the selfless step of taking her into their home. It was an exemplary example of selflessness.”