Updated: Aug 11, 2021
A predatory taxi driver who sexually assaulted a passenger as she slept in the front seat of his car has been jailed.
Bozlul Hoque, 44, has been sentenced to eight years behind bars after he drove his 21-year-old victim to a secluded street and abused her in April 2019.
Newcastle Crown Court was told how the black cab driver had picked up the female student from outside a city centre bar in the early hours of the morning.
She got into the front seat and asked to be taken to her home address but she fell asleep during the journey.
The terrified victim awoke a short time later to find Hoque had parked in a secluded street and was sexually assaulting her.
She screamed at the driver who then transported her to a friend’s address where the victim reported what had happened to police.
The married father-of-three was arrested but denied sexually assaulting the woman and claimed she had been intoxicated and unable to provide him with her address.
But forensic examination found his DNA on the victim and he was charged with sexual assault and later pleaded guilty at court.
On Tuesday 10 August, Hoque, of Croydon Road, Newcastle, was jailed for eight years at Newcastle Crown Court.
Following the case, the investigating officer at Northumbria Police praised the bravery the victim had shown throughout the investigation and subsequent court proceedings.
Detective Constable Joe Birkett said: “This should have been a five minute journey but we were able to use CCTV and mobile phone data to prove the victim was in the car for 30 minutes.
“Hoque tried to claim this was because of her intoxication but forensic analysis showed he had physical contact with her and the mountain of evidence against him resulted in a guilty plea.
“He was a licenced taxi driver who had undergone vulnerability training and was in a position of trust. His sole duty should have been getting his customer home safely.
“Instead he abused that position of trust and I welcome the significant custodial sentence handed to this sexual predator by the judge.
“This result would not have been possible if it were not for the bravery of the victim in this case and I want to take this opportunity to thank her for having the courage to come forward.
“We hope this sentencing can bring her some comfort and shows other victims of sexual assault that we will do everything in our power to put predators behind bars.”
In a victim impact statement read during the sentencing hearing, Hoque’s victim said her abuser took advantage of her ‘in the worst possible way’.
She said: “This assault on me occurred more than two years ago and yet I cannot shake the memory of this event from my mind.
“The nightmares are still happening, the night terrors still wake me up breathless and panicking, the anxiety of traveling in a taxi is still there.
“But for the last two years this man has denied what he did. He has lied continuously to the Police in his interviews and he has sought out every way to avoid being held responsible.
“I don't believe he has one ounce of remorse in his body. He is simply pleading guilty because the evidence against him is overwhelming and he has been backed into a comer.
“I can’t help wondering how many other single drunk females have climbed into his taxi like me and suffered similar things. I doubt I was the first but I hope I will be the last.”