A private hire driver from Rotherham has been sentenced to nine years in jail for sexually abusing a vulnerable teenage girl who was living in a care home.
Darren Hyett, 54, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday 12, after being convicted of three counts of sexual activity with a child.
Hyett, who was working for private hire firm, A1 Taxis, abused the young girl around 14 years ago when she was living at Saint Edmund’s Care Home in Thurcroft.
The victim who was 15 at the time would get picked up by Hyett in his taxi from a children’shome and drive her around. He would buy her gifts, give her alcohol and cigarettes to gain her trust.
According to a report in The Star, a National Crime Agency Investigation proved Hyett, who was 41 at the time, targeted and groomed his victim.
Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, said there was an “abuse of trust” on Hyett’s behalf and there was an element of grooming involved.
Although convicted of three counts of sexual activity with a child, Hyett was cleared by the jury of four counts of rape, one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity with a child and perverting the court of justice.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said:
“Darren has impacted on my life in many ways and still does - many of these are invisible to the eyes of others.
“Darren has used and exploited my vulnerability and my childhood situation and destroyed part of me that I will never get back - I lost the innocence of being a child.
“The nightmare of what he did to me never goes away and when I was contacted by the National Crime Agency the past crashed back into my life. I was forced to think about and face the reality of my abuse.
“The process has been ongoing for nearly three years and culminated in coming to give evidence at court. I cannot put into words how the thought of facing my abuser made me feel.
“The only thing that has enabled me to cope is the support from friends and family, and the need to take control of my life for myself and my family.”
Paul Williamson, Operation Stovewood Senior Investigating Officer, said:
“The actions of Darren Hyett were premeditated and calculated. He took advantage of a vulnerable young girl, sexually abusing her for a number of years.
“This is the latest conviction under Operation Stovewood and again I want to commend the bravery of the victim and witnesses who came to court to give their accounts of what happened.”