A DUBLIN taxi driver who sexually assaulted a passenger has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Paul Murphy (45) was found guilty by a jury of the attack on the woman after she hailed a cab in the city centre on November 11, 2011.
The father-of-three, of Glenayle Road, Raheny, was caught after the victim pulled insurance documents out of his pocket during the attack which were later used to track him down.
Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Patricia Ryan said the assault represented a serious breach of trust.
She took into account Murphy's previous good character and the fact that the offence may result in him losing his taxi licence. Garda Anthony O'Shea told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that the victim had been out with a friend on the night at a few city centre venues.
She had not had much to drink when she hailed a cab on Georges Street to her home on the northside of the city.
She sat in the back of the taxi and there was "normal chat" on the way. When she got out of the cab at her home, the driver got out too and said: "You look like you need a hug."
He grabbed her arm and asked her if she wanted to go to the beach, saying: "I bet all taxi drivers are like this for you, I'm hard for you."
The woman said "no chance". She asked him what his wife would say. Murphy then got her against a wall and tried to kiss her on the mouth, neck and face. "His hands were everywhere," said the woman.
The woman went into the house of a neighbour who later gave evidence that she had been in a distressed state.
In a victim impact statement read out on the woman's behalf, she said her life had changed the day she was assaulted.
"It robbed me of my confidence and feeling of security," she said.
She avoids taking taxis by herself and gets agitated whenever she sees a man of similar build and height to Murphy.
Judge Ring suspended the final year of the three-year jail sentence on condition that Murphy keeps the peace for three years on his release.
She also ordered that he be registered as a sex offender.