Updated: May 7
A 'coward' taxi driver who fled the country attempting to escape justice was jailed for ten years after being found guilty of raping a young woman.
Taxi driver Salih Kilicakap, 57, was entrusted to drive the young woman home in 2017 after she had enjoyed a night out in Newcastle with a friend.
Instead, calculating Kilicakap took the then 21-year-old, who had fallen unconscious in the back of his taxi, home to his Newcastle address before raping her.
She awoke hours later, terrified and confused in a strange room with damp hair, later realising her attacker had washed her, and discovered her clothes had also been washed.
She fled the property and sought help from kind strangers before contacting Northumbria Police.
An investigation was launched by the Force’s Safeguarding Department and Kilicakap, a German national, was quickly identified and arrested.
He denied any guilt during interview but was subsequently charged with rape.
But Kilicakap failed to attend the first hearing and a warrant was issued for his immediate arrest.
However, he had fled the country and returned to Germany.
Officers worked with The Metropolitan Police and the National Crime Agency as well as several overseas forces to put him before the courts.
In August 2022 he was detained in Bulgaria, before being extradited back to the UK and remanded in custody.
Faced with mounting evidence, on 19 April this year, he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court and pleaded guilty on the first day of his scheduled trial to one count of rape. And at that same court this week, on Wednesday, he was back before a judge and was jailed for 10 years.
He must also sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and has been barred from ever holding a taxi licence again.
During proceedings, a statement from his victim was read aloud.
In it, she said: “I was a young person, and I had my whole life ahead of me.
“He hasn’t made this guilty plea for my benefit, to prevent me from having to give evidence or be cross examined, if he truly had any ounce of remorse for me, he would have admitted to the police in 2017 what he had done.
“He didn’t, he left the UK and it’s taken several years for the UK authorities to bring him back to the UK for prosecution.”
She added: “The first part of my adult life has been tainted, now I am hoping that I and my loved ones can try to move forward knowing that justice has been served.”
Detective Sergeant Lynne Thompson-Hogg, of the Force’s Rape Investigation Team, heaped praise on the victim for her amazing bravery throughout the case.
She said: “Firstly, we would like to praise the bravery of this young woman and thank her for her unwavering dignity, as well as for her trust in officers and the Crown Prosecution Service to bring her attacker back to the UK to face justice for the events of that night.
“Salih Kilickap preyed on a lone woman before clumsily trying to cover his tracks.
“He is a coward who put this woman through hell while she patiently waited for her attacker to be brought back to the UK.
“We would also like to recognise the work of our national and international colleagues who helped return him to the UK to face justice.”
She added: “We want to reassure the public that Newcastle is a safe place to enjoy a night out.
“As a Force, protecting the vulnerable is our top priority and that includes protecting women on a night out.
“No one deserves for their night out to end in being assaulted and we routinely patrol our night-time areas with both uniformed and plain-clothed officers, as part of Operation Cloak, targeting those seeking to take advantage of people on a night out.
“If you are on a night out and spot anything suspicious or want to report behaviour that has made you feel uneasy or alarmed, please do approach an officer, call us on 101 or contact us online. In an emergency, always call 999.
“We’re working hard, including with our partners the local authority, to keep you safe on a night out, so please work with us and report anything suspicious.”