There’s been a lot of talk about the price of a Taxi.
“I can still remember certain smells, that send me into a state of panic. The vanilla air freshener, his breath from the Red Bull he kept swigging and his cheap aftershave was pungent.
These smells always take me back to that moment he held me down and raped me in the back of his minicab.
Just as we were about to phone for a taxi, a private hire minicab pulled up. The driver asked if we wanted a cab. He asked us where we were going, my friend Brenda lived on Garret Lane, then me onto Putney. He quoted a ridiculously cheap fare and even agreed to go via McDonald’s Wandsworth drive through as Brenda was hungry.
The minicab drove off again but stopped at a newsagents. ‘I’m thirsty,’ he said. ‘Do you want anything?’
I asked for a Lucozade, thinking it might help sober me up.
At some point, Brenda called my phone;
Things were becoming more blurry and I could hear Brenda going mad, shouting at him to take me straight home, but he just laughed.
When I came round, he was still on top of me. I could hear him, I could smell him, but I couldn’t feel him. It was like my body, my mind, my ability to talk, everything was paralysed.
When he was done, he dragged me out on the pavement, almost naked and he drove off.
I lay there crying until a young couple in a passing car pulled up and called the police. Brenda had heard everything, as when he’d put the mobile in my bag, he failed to turn it off.
Through CCTV the driver was traced and arrested. Although the evidence against him was strong, he denied rape. When I stood up in court, his barrister called me a liar and said I’d offered sex in exchange for the fare. I felt isolated and frightened all over again.
But with the witness statements from my friend and the young couple, plus the police drug test result, the verdict came back guilty. I broke down, overwhelmed to know that people had believed me. The driver was sentenced to nine years.
It’s been tough, but with counselling, I’ve finally realised that although the attack will always be a part of me, I won’t let it take over my life.”
IF YOU NEED HELP
For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999