Updated: Dec 27, 2021
A Luton man who posed as a taxi driver to kidnap and rape a woman 28 years ago has been jailed for 13 years.
Zahid Majeed, 54, who now works as a licensed taxi driver, was finally caught after his DNA was matched to the crime – despite almost three decades having passed.
In the early hours of 13 November 1993, the victim left the town’s Coliseum night club.
She got into a vehicle, believing it to be a taxi, and asked to be taken to an address. She began to become suspicious when Majeed, the driver, said he was unsure of the location and stopped the vehicle to read a map.
He started to drive off again but a short time later, stopped the car and turned the lights off. When the victim asked where they were, Majeed became aggressive and abusive before driving to a remote location off Hitchin Road where he raped her.
Following the attack, he drove to some nearby houses and dropped off the woman, who subsequently contacted the police.
Despite enquiries at the time, insufficient evidence meant Majeed was able to evade justice, however DNA evidence linked to the case remained on file in case there should be a match in the future.
Almost 30 years later, Majeed was traced through work carried out under Operation Painter, a review of undetected rapes and sexual offences which occurred between 1974 and 1999.
The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Cold Case Unit reopened the investigation and Majeed – who went on to work as an official taxi driver – was later arrested and subsequently charged.
The victim and witnesses from the earlier investigation were located and further statements obtained.
Following a three-day trial in September at Luton Crown Court, Majeed was found guilty of kidnap and rape, with the jury returning a unanimous verdict after just 90 minutes of deliberation. Yesterday, he was sentenced to 13 years for rape, and three years for the kidnap to run concurrently.
Detective Constable Hayley Dyas said: “This was a predatory attack by a man who purported to be in a position of trust, but instead chose to viciously assault a vulnerable woman.
“Majeed was able to continue living in freedom for years while his victim suffered from the lasting effects of such a horrific incident, and I can only hope that his conviction brings her some comfort. He thought he was above the law but we will do all we can to bring perpetrators to justice; this should send a clear warning that such behaviour is unacceptable and we will come after you.
“The fact that Majeed went on to work in the taxi industry is alarming; his use of this persona to commit an atrocious offence means it is possible he offended again.
“If anyone has been a victim of a similar offence, I would encourage them to come forward and report what happened. We can support you, and this investigation goes to prove that there is no time limit on getting justice.”
Detective Chief Inspector Dani Bailey added: “This is the latest successful conviction under Operation Painter and our specialist detectives will continue to utilise scientific advancements and developments in forensic science to review cases such as this and ensure sexual predators are brought to justice.”