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Fake taxi driver jailed for 23 years following multiple sex assaults in Brighton

Image credit: Sussex Police

Pevensey man Graham Head has been given a 23-year sentence for attempting to rape and sexually assault two women while posing as a taxi driver in Brighton.

Head, 66, prowled the streets of Sussex in his silver Mercedes estate searching for vulnerable women.

At Hove Crown Court on Monday 24 July he was jailed for 18 years, with an additional five years to be spent on extended licence. He was told he must serve at least two thirds of that sentence before being eligible for parole.

Head was arrested on 18 November, 2022, after a woman in her 20s reported waking up in a vehicle, which she believed to be a taxi, to find a man sexually assaulting her.

She had earlier got into what she thought was a taxi taking her from Brighton to Hove.

She managed to escape, called police at around 3.10am and was able to remember three digits of the car’s registration plate.

Within minutes, officers located the vehicle – a silver Mercedes estate - and stopped it in Preston Circus following a short pursuit. Head was arrested at the scene.

He was linked to an ongoing investigation from 19 August, 2022, when a woman in her late teens reported a man dragging her into bushes in Hove Park. She had earlier received a lift from him from Brighton to Hove Park.

He attempted to rape her, but fled the scene when the victim’s mobile phone rang.

CCTV footage from that investigation showed the victim approaching a silver Mercedes estate, which was then tracked through city centre CCTV and doorbell footage driving slowly along the road near Hove Park.

Image credit: Sussex Police

After he was arrested in November, 2022, his internet search history was found to include phrases such as ‘if a mobile phone is switched off can it still be traced’ and multiple searches around nightclub opening times in Brighton, East Sussex and Surrey, as well as information on Brighton student nights.

Inside his car were latex gloves, condoms, Viagra tablets and a balaclava. His mobile phone had been placed on flight mode.

At Hove Crown Court on Friday, 2 June, Head was found guilty of kidnap, attempted rape and assault by penetration and remanded in custody.

At the same court for sentencing, Judge Jeremy Gold described Head as a ‘sexual predator’ who posed a ‘present and dangerous risk’ to women.

Judge Gold also commended the quick-thinking and determination of Head’s second victim for alerting police, leading to his arrest.

Sussex Police was also praised for the ‘painstaking, detailed and wide-ranging’ investigation which reflected ‘extremely well’ on the service.

In a statement submitted to the court, one of Head’s victims outlined the long-term effects of the attack.

“Most prominently, I really struggle to be outside by myself at night,” she said.

“I start to panic at every insignificant sound as I assume that it must be someone who is coming to hurt and violate me. In general, I don’t feel safe anymore knowing that there are people out there who want to do what has been done to me.”

Detective Constable Elliott Lander, of Surrey and Sussex’s Major Crime Team, said: “Graham Head was a committed offender who demonstrated a meticulous approach to preying on vulnerable women.

“With him now behind bars for a significant length of time, our streets are safer as a result.

Image credit: Sussex Police

“I would like to once again thank these two brave women for supporting the investigation through to prosecution – without them Head could still be on the loose, putting other women in danger.

“We believe Head may have further victims who have not yet come forward. If you believe you may have been a victim, or have any information which could help, please contact police online or via 101, quoting Operation Cooper. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”

Superintendent Adele Tucknott, Sussex Police’s lead for violence against women and girls, said: “Women and girls should be able to walk the streets safe from dangerous predators like Graham Head.

“His imprisonment is another step in our ongoing commitment to making sure Sussex remains a safe place for women and girls.

“While we and our partners have a range of measures in place to protect people from harm, we are also working hard to improve the quality of investigations to ensure we catch and prosecute perpetrators.

“Our message to victims remains the same – please report any crimes or concerns to the police. You will be believed, you will be supported and we will do everything in our power to get you the justice you deserve.”


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