Romford minicab driver, called by street pastors, raped girl passenger, 17
- Credit: Archant
A minicab driver, who had been called by Good Samaritans to drive a drunken girl home safely, has been jailed for eight years for raping his teenage passenger.
The 17-year-old victim passed out after drinking too much while out with friends in Romford, police said.
She was helped by door staff and street pastors - church volunteers who look after vulnerable partygoers - who arranged for a licensed cab to take her to her home in Basildon, Essex.
But the driver, Nicolae Talaba, 35, took advantage of the girl’s drunken state and raped her after stopping near her home, police said.
Romanian-born Talaba, formerly of Mawney Road, Romford, carried on working after the attack in February 2012.
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He was arrested when he returned to England after a holiday in Romania in July 2012.
Talaba was found guilty of one count of rape after a six-day trial at Southend Crown Court and was sentenced on Monday.
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Senior Investigating Officer DI Danny Stoten, of Essex Police, said: “This was a lengthy and painstaking investigation that lasted almost a year.
“Talaba took advantage of the trust placed upon him and committed this terrible offence against a vulnerable teenage girl.
“When the rape was reported the offender’s identity was unknown. He was previously from Romania and so he was not on the DNA database. The hard work of the officers involved in the initial investigation, the co-operation of the public and some excellent investigative skills identified Talaba as the offender.
“He was arrested at Dover upon his return to the UK. He has shown no remorse and denied the offence throughout. This meant that the victim had to give evidence against him.
“The hard work, dedication and expertise of the investigating team ensured that the victim received justice. The victim and her family have received a great deal of support and have also contacted officers to thank them for all the work that led to the jailing of Talaba.
“He now has a very long time in prison to ponder upon his horrendous act.”
Tabala was also placed on the Sex Offender Register for life.