A “predatory” Uber driver has been jailed for 16 months for groping a female passenger while she vomited out of the door of his cab.
Temur Shah, 45, sexually assaulted the “utterly defenceless” woman during a late-night trip in central London in January last year.
The 27-year-old victim felt unwell during the journey, at which point Shah stopped and asked her to move to the front seat.
After she said she was about to vomit he stopped again and opened the front door of the cab before putting his hand under her bra.
Isleworth Crown Court heard he then began touching her genital area over her clothes, while she was sick into the gutter.
The victim told Shah to stop touching her but was forced to stay in the car as she had no money or battery on her phone to call for help.
She reported the incident to police after she was dropped off near her home.
Kate Blumgart, prosecuting, said that since the incident the victim had difficulty getting into taxis and was fearful that Shah knew where she lived.
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“She recently had a panic attack in a mini-cab with her husband. She found it difficult to tell her parents of the incident, as it made her feel ‘more guilty than she already did’,” said Ms Blumgart.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s taxi and private hire policing team used a combination of CCTV and GPS data from Uber to identify Shah as the suspect, and he was arrested in February 2018.
He was charged and convicted of sexual assault in January 2019, following a trial that lasted one week.
Hugh D’Aguilar, defending, told the court that Shah was “fearful of going to prison” as he looked after his three children and his elderly mother during the day while his wife was at work.
Shah’s mother sat in court alongside other members of his family, who wept as the sentence was read out.
Judge Nicholas Wood said that the offence was aggravated by the fact that it had taken place in the early hours of the morning in an area of London that the victim did not know.
“As she herself said ‘what was she to do?’ Her escape route was very limited,” he said.
Judge Wood added that he was mindful of the effect that a custodial sentence would have on Shah’s family, but that time in prison was unavoidable.
“You had a young woman in your trust, in your cab, late at night. She was utterly defenceless as she turned away from you facing the gutter,” he said.
Shah, of Park Crescent, Harrow, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.
Speaking after Shah was convicted, Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing and Community Safety at TfL, told The Mirror: "This attack on a vulnerable passenger was predatory and disgusting, and we are pleased to see that Shah has been convicted.”