Taxi driver raped drunk woman in Sunderland in calculated attack

A taxi driver who took a passenger from Sunderland to a secluded spot and raped her after waiting to get a victim has been jailed.

Ian Phillips had clocked-off and disabled his in-car camera, then lurked near pubs and bars in Sunderland City Centre in the early hours to attract potential prey.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when a woman, who was “ten-out-of-ten drunk” lost the rest of her group and got into his car alone, she was driven away and attacked.

The victim had been helped into his vehicle by well-meaning strangers who had noticed her struggling while waiting alone for a cab home by herself.

Married dad Phillips, 48, of Noble Street, Easington Colliery, denied rape but was found guilty by a jury after a trial.

He claimed he had clocked-off to do cash-in-hand work that night and the victim consented to what happened.

Judge Robert Spragg said the woman was far too drunk to consent to anything and that Phillips is a “high risk to members of the public”.

The judge stressed that the majority of taxi drivers are “trustful and are trusted”.

The court heard the victim had been out in Sunderland and was not a regular drinker but ended up, in her own words, “mortal drunk”.

In the early hours of the morning she became separated from her group but spoke to one of them on the phone who told her to get a taxi home, thinking she would be safe.

The court heard she sat outside a bar, where she was struggling to see her phone screen, and was helped into Phillips’ taxi by kind passers-by, who had no reason to suspect they were putting her in danger.

The victim’s recollection of what happened next is patchy but she remembers being driven to a back lane and then a secluded spot in the city, and then being at her mother’s home with injuries and ripped clothing.

She said in an impact statement her life has been “turned upside down” by what happened to her and she has flackbacks and terrors over what happened.

Judge Spragg said Phillips’ reason for clocking off was not to get cash-in-hand work and added: “Your motive was far more sinister, trying to get lone, drunken women to your car

“You were acting as a hackney driver, which you were not. You had deliberately turned the cameras off in your car, there was no good reason to turn the cameras off.

“I find you were parked there in the hope a drunken woman would get in the car and you could take advantage of her.

“When the complainant was delivered to you it as just what you were waiting for, you were waiting there in the hope a woman on her own would get into your taxi.

“This was planned by you, you were waiting there for a woman to present herself to you.

“If it had not been her you would have waited to get someone else.”

The judge added that Phillips’ behaviour was triggered by an “overwhelming sense of sexual entitlement” and a wish for control.

Judge Spragg imposed an additional five year extended licence period after the 12 year jail term and said Phillips must abide by a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender registration requirements for life.

Lee Fish, defending, said: “He has committed an extremely serious offence and he will have to come to terms with that.”