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Woman subjected to horrific ordeal
A cab driver was jailed for nine years for raping his terrified teenage passenger in the back of his taxi.
The harrowing screams of the woman at the hands of Mohammed Shazad were played to the jury at his trial at Bradford Crown Court.
Shazad, 36, of Brantdale Road, Heaton, Bradford, was unanimously convicted yesterday by the panel of six men and six women.
There were gasps of relief from the victim and her friends and family in the public gallery.
Judge Robert Bartfield said the 19-year-old woman had had too much to drink when she got into Shazad’s private hire vehicle in Leeds city centre at 5am on Saturday, November 28, last year.
He told the father of four: “She caught that taxi as your passenger and that means you had a duty to care for her and make sure she did not come to harm.”
Instead, Shazad plied her with vodka disguised in Lucozade in a planned move to stupify her enough to rape her.
He drove her around Leeds before turning his cab towards her address in Bradford.
But instead of taking her home, he parked in a secluded spot off Manningham Lane and forced himself on her.
He dropped the hysterical woman off in Queen’s Road, with her clothing in disarray and her possessions scattered in the gutter.
Shazad, who claimed his victim agreed to have sex with him, told the jury he drove home to his wife and family, leaving the crying teenager barefoot at the roadside.
Judge Bartfield made a Sexual Offences Prevention order barring Shazad from working as a cab driver again.
His barrister, Stephen Uttley, said Shazad’s family would suffer “the dire consequences of his incarceration”.
He was the sole breadwinner and they had a mortgage to pay, the court heard.
The judge commended the 12-strong Homicide and Major Enquiry Team that investigated the rape.
He also praised pensioner Arthur Hudson who came to the woman’s rescue when Shazad dumped her out of his cab “like a piece of rubbish”.
The judge said Mr Hudson’s gallantry reflected a bygone age and awarded him £400 from public funds.
During the trial, the jury heard footage recorded by the woman’s teenage friend on her mobile phone.
The victim is heard screaming and begging to be let out of the cab.
Her friend called the police and officers were already looking for the cab when Mr Hudson called the police at about 8.30am.
After the case, Detective Inspector Simon Atkinson, one of the officers leading the investigation, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the victim in this case who came forward to the police and disclosed the horrendous ordeal she had endured.
“Her courage in giving evidence at the trial of Shazad should serve as a reminder that the victim’s voice will be heard and that offenders will be pursued relentlessly.
“I would also like to echo the comments of the judge in commending the member of the public who came forward and assisted the victim after the attack.”