Birmingham & Black Country

Student speaks of Birmingham taxi sexual assault

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Media captionSarah had been on her first night out in Birmingham

A woman has spoken of how her life has changed after being attacked by a bogus taxi driver in Birmingham.

Last week, Shakeel Ahmed, 31, was jailed for five years for sexual assault by penetration at the city's crown court.

His victim, Sarah, now 19, had been on a night out in Birmingham in March to celebrate a friend's 21st birthday.

She got into what she thought was a minicab, at a rank in Broad Street, but was assaulted by Ahmed in the car.

"I've had panic attacks as a result of the attack, get scared walking in the dark and it's had an effect on my relationships, including my boyfriend, as I struggle now when it comes to physical contact," she said.

"I very rarely drink when I go out as I'm worried what could happen."

'Terrifying' experience

The student, from Northamptonshire, who cannot be identified, was on her first night out in Birmingham.

"I'd got a lot drunker than I'd planned and I had work the next day, so I decided I needed to go back to the hotel we were staying in," she said.

"It turned out this was a man posing as a taxi driver and on the lookout for vulnerable women he could take advantage of.

"He leaned over from the driver's side to the passenger seat where I was sat and he started to kiss my face and my lips.

"I thought at that point it would have been best to sit there and let him carry on because I thought I'd end up in a worse situation if I fought and tried to push him away."

Image caption Shakeel Ahmed was jailed for five years after an eight-day trial

She passed out, but later awoke to find Ahmed on top of her.

"It was terrifying. I ran off bare-footed, not stopping to get my shoes from the car."

West Midlands Police said Ahmed was traced from DNA samples found on the teenager's clothing.

Officers said CCTV cameras showed him "prowling" in Broad Street in his car and he was arrested on 16 April.

Ahmed, of Newton Road, Sparkhill, was jailed after an eight-day trial. He was also told to sign the sex offenders register.

His victim urged other women to book taxis and never use unlicensed vehicles, a message echoed by West Midlands Police.

The force said there were 75 reported attacks by taxi drivers, or people purporting to be taxi drivers, in the city over 2011 and 2012.

Sgt Sarah Little said the number of offences was "relatively small" given that there were 4,500 minicabs and 1,500 black cabs registered to operate in the city.

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