A man who kidnapped and raped a woman and then robbed her after she got into his vehicle in the mistaken belief that he was an Uber driver has been jailed. Mohammed Awais, 28, from East Ham, was sentenced to nine years and four months' imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, 10 January. He had pleaded guilty at the same court at an earlier hearing in 2018 to rape, assault by penetration, kidnap, robbery, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance. The court heard that at around 00:30hrs Saturday, 20 October the victim, a 28-year-old woman, had been out with friends in the Dalston area when she ordered a cab on the Uber app for the journey home. A white Toyota Auris arrived at her location and the victim got in the back, believing it to be her cab. When she voiced her suspicion after the driver did not appear to know where he was supposed to be going, he locked the doors and sped up. The terrified victim was driven to a dimly lit alleyway in East Ham where she was raped. After the attack the male robbed the victim of her possessions, including her phone, cash and a laptop, and ordered her to get out of the car. He then drove away. The victim fled and ran as far as she could, hiding in the front garden of a residential address to ensure that the suspect was not following her. She was then able to alert two members of the public in the street, who called police. An investigation was launched by officers from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command.
Awais was identified as driving the vehicle by another man arrested as part of the investigation. He was arrested on Wednesday, 24 October at his home address in East Ham. He was identified by a witness at an ID parade and was further linked to the crime by forensic evidence. DS Emma Matthews led the investigation. She said: "It was established the legitimate Uber vehicle the victim had booked had been cancelled without her realising. "Awais, who had never worked as an Uber driver, arrived at the location purely by chance and, spotting a lone female, acted as an imposter to get her into his vehicle before carrying out his despicable attack. "His disgusting behaviour is beyond comprehension. He left the victim in fear of her life. "She has been extraordinarily brave throughout the entire process. I would like to thank her for supporting our investigation, and hope that eventually, and with our continued support, she will one day be able to leave this terrible incident behind her."