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Man jailed for raping woman who mistook his car for a minicab she had booked in London

Image credit: Metropolitan Police

A security guard has been jailed for raping a woman who mistook his car for her pre-booked mini-cab in London.

Sola Austin Warikwah, 39, of South East London, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, 17 December where he was jailed for seven years for rape.

He was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), and was placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Warikwah had previously been found guilty of the offence by a unanimous jury verdict following a week-long trial - at the same court - on Friday, 18 September.

During the trial, the court heard how in the early hours of 22 April 2019, the 25-year-old female victim got into Warikwah’s car at Embankment, believing him to be the mini-cab that had been booked to take her home.

Warikwah made the decision to drive the woman to a multi-storey carpark in Victoria, where he raped her.

At the time of the incident, Warikwah was employed as a security guard. His duties included patrolling areas in central London during the night – the car park where the offence took place was one of the patrol sites on his route.

During her ordeal, the woman managed to send messages to a friend. She wrote, “I’ve been raped. I feel sick. This taxi won’t take me home. I’m scared.”

When she eventually managed to escape the vehicle, the woman had the courage to take pictures of her attacker as he left the scene.

Detectives from Westminster launched an immediate investigation, conducting extensive CCTV, phone and vehicle enquiries that ultimately identified Warikwah. Once identified, he was located and was arrested at his home address two days later.

Detective Sergeant John Paton, of Westminster Sapphire Team in the Safeguarding Unit, said: “Sola Austin Warikwah is a predatory sex offender who targeted a vulnerable, unsuspecting woman travelling alone.

“Due to the courage and quick thinking of the victim, assistance from the public and the veracity of the investigation, a dangerous offender has been placed where he is no longer a threat to women.

“I sincerely hope that the sentence handed down today encourages other victims of sexual offences to come forward.”

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