Ilyas Sheikh Jailed for Four Years
Sheikh, who was employed as a private hire driver in Birmingham, picked up a 19-year-old woman and three friends from Broad Street on April 12, 2013. He dropped off three of the passengers, but instead of dropping off the fourth passenger, he took her on a journey through the south of Birmingham into the Worcestershire countryside, where he sexually assaulted her.
PC Martyn from the Safeguarding Team at Birmingham Central said: “The terrified victim was assaulted by Sheikh and even though at one point they drove through Hopwood Services, she was too scared to ask for help. Unfortunately she didn’t have a mobile phone with her either and so was unable to make a call for help. He took her to the middle of nowhere and sexually assaulted her.”
Her ordeal lasted nearly an hour. Eventually the woman was dropped near to her home.
Sheikh was arrested on April 25 2013 after his vehicle was identified on CCTV.
PC Martyn added: “I am pleased with today’s sentence, Sheikh used his position as a private hire driver to prey on a vulnerable lone female and put her through quite an ordeal. This should serve as a warning to those who abuse their position as a private hire driver or those who unlawfully use their vehicles for the purpose of taxiing.
“The victim had strength to give evidence at court and I hope with this conviction, it will give confidence to other victims of sexual assault.
“West Midlands Police will work with other agencies to continue to bring offenders to justice. We would encourage people when using taxis to book them in advance – private hire vehicles cannot pick up fares that haven’t been booked – and sit in the rear to reduce the risk of being targeted.
“Use a mobile phone. Call or text someone to let them know you are in a taxi and on your way. If you can let them know which firm it is and how long you will be.’’