Tuesday 19 February 2019

Taxi man suspect in sex attacks on two women 'still at work in Dublin'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Ken Foy

A TAXI driver suspected of savage sexual assaults on two women he picked up is still working, senior sources say.

Gardai are preparing a file for the DPP after they arrested the driver over the attacks that happened more than three months apart.

A source said officers had major concerns that the suspect, in his 40s and from South Asia, is continuing to work in Dublin despite a “very strong case against him”.

The investigation has been carried out by Pearse Street gardai, who spent several hours questioning him before he was released without charge.

His alleged victims are in their 20s and one is also a foreign national. Gardai have been investigating the assaults, which happened in late November and last August, since the victims made full statements.

The women were attacked after getting into the suspect’s taxi at different locations in the south of the city after socialising.

They were taken to the north inner city where the sexual assaults happened.

EVIDENCE

It is understood both women were treated at the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the Rotunda Hospital where examinations confirmed they had been assaulted.

“This case has been helped by the use of excellent-quality CCTV as well as very credible forensic evidence,” a senior source said.

“The investigation team were able to link both assaults and this led to the arrest of the suspect a number of weeks ago.

“A file on the cases is in the final stages of being sent to the DPP.

“What happened here was not only a gross breach of trust – these women suffered sustained and serious sexual assaults.

“Gardai are not looking for anyone else in relation to this investigation and are very hopeful of a successful conclusion.”

The alleged victims are not known to each other.

The source said gardai were aware the suspect was continuing to operate as a taxi driver in Dublin city centre but were monitoring his activities.

“At this stage what has happened are officially just accusations. There have been no charges yet so he is free to continue to work. If he was charged, certain conditions could be attached to any potential bail,” the source said.

“This has not happened yet but is very likely in the near future.

“However, gardai are considering going to the courts, where they can apply to have his taxi licence suspended for a period not exceeding three months under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.”

It can also be revealed that Pearse Street gardai investigated the Dublin-based driver for a third sexual assault on a woman in the city centre in recent months but he was ruled out of that investigation.

The Pearse Street investigation is separate from the rape case being probed by Irishtown gardai who arrested a South Asian taxi driver in his 40s at Dublin Airport on January 4 after he arrived back from a European country.

FLED

The suspect had earlier fled the country and was in Europe for a number of weeks after he allegedly carried out the assault on a young north Dublin woman who was attacked after attending a D4 Christmas party last December 9.

Sources believe he returned to Dublin even though he knew gardai were looking for him because he has a number of children and other “family ties” here. The Tallaght-based taxi driver was questioned for a number of hours at Irishtown Garda Station before being released without charge on January 5.

A file on the case will now be sent to the DPP, but sources say the driver claims he did not rape the 22-year-old victim.

After he fled Ireland in the aftermath of the rape, gardai raided his home and carried out forensic examinations of the property.

The taxi in which the woman was attacked in the early hours has also been located, seized and forensically examined.

The victim is said to have suffered most of her ordeal while the taxi was parked at Emmet Street, in Dublin’s north inner city, between 2am and 3am on December 9.

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