Black cabbie from Romford jailed for raping passenger

A taxi driver from Romford who raped a woman passenger in his cab was jailed for seven years yesterday.

Edward Chapman, 45, of Beauly Way, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court, after denying the offence.

The court heard the victim, in her mid-30s, had been out with friends and flagged down a Hackney carriage in Shoreditch, east London, in the early hours of last August 12.

She had been feeling unwell and asked to be taken to her home.

When they reached Finchley, Chapman raped the woman in his cab.

The victim told a friend that she had been assaulted by the driver, and then told her family what had happened.

Officers began a detailed search of CCTV and were able to identify Chapman’s cab as it had a distinctive ‘Huffington Post’ advert on it.

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Chapman was arrested on August 15 and later charged with rape.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Browne QC, said: “Black cab drivers have rightly earned a very high reputation as the most reliable drivers round the streets of London and the suburbs. By your conviction today, you have damaged the reputation of back cab drivers generally. There are several obvious aggravating features of your quite disgraceful conduct.

“This rape involves a gross breach of trust by a professional driver to his passenger, taking advantage of a vulnerable passenger, the passenger being a total stranger to you. Without the considerable courage of victims, rape convictions are impossible. The victim of this rape is still affected by her ordeal at your hands. But what emerged about her character was her calmness, her quiet dignity, and her quest for justice, which has been achieved.”

Chapman will be on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.

Det Sergeant Steve Grainger, of the Barnet Sapphire unit who investigate serious sexual crime, said: “Chapman was a licensed taxi driver who abused his position to take ruthless advantage of this woman. It is only by the bravery of victims that people like Chapman can be stopped.

“We understand that some victims may be worried about reporting serious sexual assaults to police, but I would like to reassure the public that we take all reports seriously and will investigate them thoroughly. We also have specially trained officers who do all they can to support victims no matter what the circumstances are.”