Sunday 4 December 2016

Taxi driver jailed for sexually assaulting young woman who became separated from friends on night out

Fiona Ferguson

Published 21/12/2015 | 15:56

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A taxi driver who sexually assaulted a vulnerable young woman who had become separated from her friends in Dublin city centre has been jailed for three years.

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Ivan Seredych (42) invited the crying woman into his taxi and offered to drive her home but sexually assaulted her during the trip. The woman saved his name and badge number onto her phone and ran to a garda station as soon as she got out of the taxi.

Seredych, of Kyrie Court, Main Street, Clonee, was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury last month, following a three day trial, of sexual assault of the twenty four year old woman at locations in the city on June 10, 2012. He does not accept the verdict of the jury.

Seredych came to Ireland from Ukraine in 2001. He has five previous convictions for road traffic offences.

The woman outlined in her victim impact report that she had been “emotionally broken up” since the offence. She was attending counselling, felt afraid and suffered bad dreams. She feared the ongoing effects wee something from which she would never recover.

Judge Catherine Murphy said the victim had been a “vulnerable, trusting young woman” who believed Seredych was befriending her.

Judge Murphy accepted his status as a foreign national must be taken into account in sentencing but noted that he had been in Ireland for upwards of 14 years and as he was a taxi driver he must have a level of linguistic ability.

She said the offence was in the mid range of seriousness and imposed a three year sentence.

Anthony Sammon SC, defending, said he was not in a position to submit expressions of remorse as his client did not accept the verdict of the jury. He handed in letters from Seredych and his wife.

He said Seredych had been in the Ukrainian army for two years and worked in the building trade in the Czech Republic prior to coming to Ireland in 2001.

Mr Sammon asked the court to take into account his client's status as a foreign national which may make incarceration more difficult due to cultural and linguistic issues.

Garda Aoife Haverty told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that the young woman had become separated from her friends on a night out in the city centre. She was upset and crying as she walked along the quays near Millennium Bridge calling for her friends.

Seredych called to her from his taxi: “Come into the taxi, you are upset.” He told her to stop crying and offered to drive her home. The woman trusted him and got into the front seat.

Seredych began to drive and put his hand on her thigh. She told him to get away and he asked her if she had a boyfriend.

He continued touching the woman throughout the journey and at one point pulled into a car park where he asked her if she liked to kiss.

The woman was holding her phone under her body and trying to call 999. Seredych noticed the phone and asked her what she was doing. She told him she was texting a friend and Seredych began driving again.

The woman managed to note his name and taxi number on her phone. She gave him directions towards a suburb where she knew there was a garda station. Seredych continued touching her on the vagina. He also exposed his penis and put her hand on it.

When they reached the garda station the woman got out of the taxi and Seredych did not ask her to pay. She ran inside and reported the incident giving gardaí the taxi badge number from her phone.

Gardaí established Seredych was the owner of the badge number. He was interviewed by gardaí and they found the car described by the woman at his home.

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