Sussex

Woman sexually assaulted by Brighton taxi driver

An 18-year-old woman has been sexually assaulted by a taxi driver in Brighton.

Police said she got into the taxi at a rank in West Street. The man drove to a nearby side street where he parked and assaulted her, early on Sunday.

Afterwards, the driver went to Portland Place, Kemptown, where she escaped from the taxi. The vehicle was then driven back towards the city centre.

Sussex Police are warning people to take note of taxi licence numbers, especially when travelling alone.

The driver is described as being in his late 30s, about 5ft 7in (1.7m) tall and of average build.

He was wearing dark clothing and a black baseball hat.

'Drove erratically'

Appealing for witnesses, Det Sgt Chris Sherwell said: "The victim would have been visibly distressed in the taxi and when getting out in Portland Place.

"The car drove the route erratically and at high speed.

"We are advising people to take care when travelling home alone. They should sit in the back of the vehicle and take note of the taxi licence number printed on the vehicle door and boot."

The taxi was described as an estate or vehicle of a similar shape.

Sussex Police said the woman got into the car at about 0310 GMT and escaped some 25 minutes later.

Mick Hildreth, from the GMB union which represents taxi drivers, said: "The whole trade is absolutely mortified about the attack on this young lady.

"We want to reassure the public there are 80,000 taxi journeys in Brighton each week and many thousands more by taxis from ranks.

"This is a one-off rogue driver. All the trade are doing their utmost to track down the individual."

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