JAILED: Atherstone-based driver who tried to force woman to perform sex act - The Solihull Observer

JAILED: Atherstone-based driver who tried to force woman to perform sex act

Solihull Editorial 10th Nov, 2016   0

A CASTLE Bromwich taxi driver who grabbed a woman he had just dropped off and dragged her back into his car, where he tried to force her to perform a sex act on him, has been jailed.

After the terrifying attack, during which his victim thought she was going to be raped, Atherstone-based driver Zaharul Hoque did ‘everything in his power’ to escape the consequences.

He pestered her with calls apologising and trying to persuade her to ‘let me off this time’ – and then accused her of lying after pleading not guilty to sexually assaulting her.

But Hoque (47) of Kingsleigh Drive, Castle Bromwich, was found guilty after a trial at Warwick Crown Court.

And following an adjournment for a report to be prepared on him Hoque, who had not told his family why he was on trial, was jailed for three years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

During the trial prosecutor Walter Bealby said that in April last year Hoque, who worked for Atherstone Taxis, picked up the woman and her friends after they had been out in Atherstone.

At one point she got out and said she would walk the rest of the way after Hoque allegedly stroked her leg.

But five to 10 minutes later, after dropping off the others, he pulled up next to her and apologised and offered to take her home.

At first she declined, but he persisted, and she got in, thinking there would be no further problem, but when he dropped her off near her home he asked for a kiss, which she refused.

Giving evidence, the young woman said: “I went to get my keys out, and I turned round, and he’d come from the back of the taxi. He was just there out of nowhere.

“He tried to give me a kiss and grabbed me by the head. He was just generally touching me. His hands were all over me.

“Next thing, he’s just pushed me towards the taxi door, and the next thing I knew he’s opened the door and I was inside and he was doing something with the doors.

“I was scared, I didn’t know whether he was going to rape me. He started trying to undo his belt, and I was thinking I don’t know if I’m going to end up in a ditch.”

The woman, who had her phone in her hand and had managed to record his comments, which were played to the jury, began to struggle, and managed to get out of the car.

She ran to her home, from where she said she phoned the taxi firm and shouted abuse at them over what had happened.

The jury heard she then had the first of three calls from Hoque, pleading: “I do apologise. Do me a favour, don’t complain me. I do apologise, I do apologise. Let me off this time.”

There were two further calls in a similar vein, and Mr Bealby told the jury: “The prosecution say they amount, in effect, to an admission by the defendant that he acted inappropriately.”

But when Hoque was arrested, he claimed her account was a lie and that there had been no physical contact apart from her giving him a hug and a kiss on the cheek when he dropped her off.

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