Fake taxi driver kidnapped and raped young woman in ‘depraved’ attack

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A “depraved” man who tricked a young woman into believing he was a taxi driver before kidnapping and raping her has been jailed.

Earlier this month, January 10, Yuseab Woldeab, an Eritrean refugee, was found guilty of one count of vaginal rape, one count of anal rape and one count of kidnap.

Woldeab, of Wilton Street in Millbridge, Plymouth, picked up his victim in Union Street on April 25 last year as she staggered home, following a night out with two of her friends.

The woman, who is in her late 20s, had been to a number of venues and was under the influence of alcohol, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Investigators showed how Woldeab was spotted on CCTV driving his white Ford Fiesta around the city centre after he had been out at Revolutions nightclub.

The foreman of the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict to all three counts, reports Plymouth Live.

Woldeab returned to court today, January 26, where he was sentenced to 18 years in jail for the horrific attack.

He sat in the dock with his arms folded and with an expressionless look on his face as he refused to look at the packed public gallery.

Peter Rouch KC, prosecuting, read a statement from the victim, in which she told how her “whole life has been turned upside down”.

In her statement, she went on to explain that she had never had sex with a man before and had never been attracted to men.

She continued: “I’ve lost my sense of identity. He’s taken that all away from me, it was not his to take.”

The court also heard how the victim could not take her clothes off after the attack and was unable to look at herself naked.

She said: “I was disgusted even though I had done nothing wrong”.

The victim added: “Even after he had been arrested, I couldn’t bear to be alone and would barricade my door.

“I cannot leave my flat without someone else with me due to the fear that something bad could happen.

“I’m now a shadow of my former self. I resent him [Woldeab] for making me feel guilty.”

Her statement added that she was now planning to leave Plymouth.

Mr Rouch urged Judge Peter Johnson to consider a category one sentence, the most serious classification, due to the harm and psychological damage imposed on the victim.

Defence barrister Nick Lewin argued that a category two sentence was more appropriate.

Mr Lewin informed the judge that his client was “performing well in prison” and that he had no previous convictions.

He added: “He’s not an individual without some worth.”

Judge Johnson then addressed Woldeab directly and referenced the CCTV footage.

After describing to the court the moment Woldeab falsely informed the victim that he was a taxi driver, Judge Johnson said: “So eager were you to have sex with her that she had not closed her door when you drove off.”

Previously, Woldeab told the court that, before engaging in sexual intercourse, he and the victim had discussed “positions”.

Today, Judge Johnson dismissed these claims as a “desperate series of bare-faced lies”.

He added that his defence had been “nonsense” and that he had not shown “one scintilla of remorse” for what he had done.

Judge Johnson dismissed the defence’s suggestion of a category two sentencing and instead opted for a category 1b sentence, which has a starting sentence period of 12 years.

He said: “In my judgement and having seen a number of these cases, this is extreme. Clearly, there was a degree of planning.”

Judge Johnson initially awarded Woldeab a sentence of 13 years for count one, 12 years for count two and five years for count three, with counts two and three to run concurrently.

However, Judge Johnson went on to weigh up the “dangerousness” of the individual.

He said Woldeab had been a known “predator” from 2016 and had been regularly seen “following” lone females “every Friday and Saturday night”.

On one occasion he was questioned by police who found money and condoms in his pockets.

Gasps were heard from the public gallery when Judge Johnson also revealed that Woldeab had been warned over contacting girls under the age of 16.

Taking these factors into account, the Judge said that, in order to protect the public, a further five years would be added to his sentence.

In total, Woldeab received a total sentence of 18 years.

Judge Johnson informed Woldeab that he would be eligible for parole but only after he had served at least 12 years.

It was also noted that on his release he would be prohibited from working with children and vulnerable adults.

After the court concluded cries could be heard from the public gallery followed by shouts of “absolute scumbag” and “depraved rapist”.

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