Taxi driver denies sex assault charge

A TAXI driver allegedly molested a young woman passenger, leaving her frightened and hysterical, a jury heard.

Muhammad Jamshed was said to have fondled the woman’s leg with his left hand while driving with his right and allegedly only took it off to change gear. He allegedly told the woman, who was alone in his cab after her friend had got out, she had a nice body and was very pretty, stroked her stomach and put his hand inside her bra, Burnley Crown Court was told.

The hearing was told the woman, who was 20 at the time of the alleged attack, last June, claimed she had been invited into the front seat by the cabbie, who had started to ask about her family.

Jamshed, said to be “adamant” her allegations are not true, claimed he and the woman, who he said was drunk, had argued over the fare. He told police she had made up the allegations as he had told her he would take her to the police station. The defendant (33), of Clover Hill Road, Nelson, who was working for City Cabs, Burnley, at the time, and had been a taxi driver for seven years, denies sexual assault.

The court was told the alleged victim and her friend had got into the cab in St James Street, Burnley, and the friend had been dropped off in town.

The alleged victim told police her friend gave Jamshed £10 for the fare and, after the friend was dropped off, she was telling the defendant about her boyfriend.

She claimed Jamshed then sexually assaulted her, but she couldn’t get out of the taxi as it was moving, felt scared and ”like a rabbit in headlights.” The woman said she was hysterical when she got home.

The jury was told the defendant claimed the two young women smelled strongly of alcohol and had been laughing when they got in the taxi. He claimed he told them the fare would be £10 and he was given £5.

He alleged after the first young woman got out, the alleged victim asked if she could sit in the front. Jamshed alleged he stopped the car and she got into the front seat. The defendant said, when they reached Padiham, he asked for the money, she said she couldn’t pay and he told her if she didn’t, he would take her to the police station and a row started. She then gave him the money and he dropped her off.

The defendant alleged he said the woman could sit in the front but he did not touch her. He alleged the woman verbally abused him, but he did not put her out of the cab as she was a female, he did not want to touch her or throw her out.

Jamshed claimed when the woman got home she appeared to be quite happy.