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‘HORRENDOUS AND EXTREME’: Pretend taxi driver jailed 18 years for kidnap and rape

Updated: Jan 28, 2023


Image credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A rapist who kidnapped and raped a woman after pretending to be a taxi driver to lure the victim into his vehicle, has been jailed for 18 years.


Yuseab Woldeab, aged 27, was sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday after being found guilty of two counts of rape and one of kidnap.

The court heard how the victim, a woman in her 20s, had been out with friends on the evening of Sunday 24 April. After several hours drinking in bars and then at a friend’s house, she headed home alone in the early hours of Monday 25 April.


CCTV obtained by detectives from the morning the woman was attacked, shows the victim, who was heavily intoxicated, stumbling along the pavement before a three-door Ford Fiesta, registered to Woldeab, passes her as she walks on Union Street.

Further footage shows the same vehicle pulling into Octagon Street and parking up while he watches the victim walk along the street.


Unaware of the van, the victim continues to walk towards Devonport. After a short wait, the vehicle performs a U-turn and proceeds down Union Street in the same direction as the victim.

At around 4am, the driver is seen pulling up next to the victim. This is when Woldeab identified himself as a taxi driver and offered to take her home.


The victim is seen getting into the front passenger seat as the vehicle begins to drive off before she has had a chance to close the door.


The court heard how during this journey; the victim was blacking out due to intoxication.


Woldeab drove the victim to his home address in Wilton Street and put the victim onto his bed where he proceeded to rape her before leaving the room. The victim, seeing this as a chance to escape, flees the house.

Image credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Once the woman got back to her address, she messaged a friend for help where she disclosed what had happened to her.


The victim contacted the police the same day stating that she had no idea who the man was nor remembered the address he took her. Officers carried out immediate enquiries which resulted in the arrest of Woldeab within 30 hours of the police receiving the initial report.


Woldeab was charged with the offences and remanded in custody.


DS Chris Kinski of the Sexual Offences Investigation Team said: “This was a truly horrendous and disturbing crime.


“Woldeab could see that the victim was vulnerable as she was intoxicated. He used this entirely to his advantage when approaching her that night. We believe he had been prowling the streets looking for a victim prior to spotting her.


“I wish to thank the victim for her incredible bravery in coming forward and reporting this to us. We know that this was no easy task and that she was fearful of not being believed, however, we take all reports of this nature extremely seriously and are whole heartedly committed to supporting survivors of sexual abuse.

“I have no doubt that what happened that night will stay with the victim forever. I hope this sentencing can provide her with some sense of closure so that she can move on with the same courage and determination that she has shown throughout this process.

“We would urge anyone suffering in silence to come forward. As this case shows, you will be believed and supported and together we will hold offenders to account for their crimes.”


Rebecca Sutherland, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West, said: “This was a shocking case in which the defendant deliberately targeted and abducted a lone, vulnerable young woman before subjecting her to an appalling attack.


“Woldeab pleaded not guilty to kidnap and two counts of rape but, thanks to excellent work from the police investigative team and the bravery of the victim in telling her story, the CPS was able to build a compelling case that saw the jury convict on all three charges.


“The CPS is working closely with our partners in the police to develop closer joint working on rape investigations to drive up the number of successful prosecutions and deliver justice for victims. We want every victim to have the confidence that their case will be fully investigated by the police and that, in every case where our legal tests are met, the Crown Prosecution Service will charge and prosecute.”

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