A Uber driver who sexually assaulted an “utterly defenceless” woman passenger as she leaned out of his cab door to vomit has been jailed.
Temur Shah, 45, groped the 27-year-old woman after picking her up from a West End address in the early hours of the morning of January 2018.
Isleworth Crown Court heard his passenger said she felt unwell during the journey, and that Shah had stopped the car, asking her to move into the front seat.
When she told him she was about to vomit he stopped a second time, then leaned over to open the door and put his hand under her bra.
He then continued the assault, touching her genital area over her clothes, while she was sick into the gutter.
Afterwards she told Shah not to touch her, but was forced to stay inside the vehicle 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.
“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 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.
The officer in the case, Acting Police Sergeant Jonny Harris, said: “Today’s sentencing reflects the seriousness of Shah’s offending.
“There were a number of aggravating factors considered in this sentencing, the most prominent being that this young woman put her trust in Mr Shah to get her home safely.
“Shah abused that trust and sexually assaulted her at a time when she was alone and extremely vulnerable.
“This conviction would not have been possible without this young woman coming forward to the police.
“She showed extreme courage and composure when giving her evidence and I have nothing but praise for her and the other witnesses who attended court.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.