New twist in sex attacker hunt

Police arrested the driver of this Nissan X-Trail after a passenger claimed she was assaulted
Police arrested the driver of this Nissan X-Trail after a passenger claimed she was assaulted

THE hunt for a bogus taxi driver took a dramatic new twist when a man was arrested after the alarm was raised by another female passenger.

The 57-year-old was arrested after being apprehended by a genuine hackney carriage driver, who read about the first attack in the Wigan Evening Post earlier this month.

In the latest incident, which resulted in the arrest, the witness fled before police arrived. They are now appealing to her to contact them.

The drama began on Sunday, October 14, in the early hours of the morning when a 29-year-old woman was picked up in Wigan town centre in a silver Nissan X-Trail, which she believed was a licensed taxi. Everything appeared normal until they arrived at her destination, then he tried to molest her. The victim screamed and scrambled out of the vehicle, while her assailant sped off towards Beech Hill Avenue.

After an appeal by police, a genuine driver was alerted to a vehicle, matching the description of the one sought by police, by a young woman who said she was approached by its driver early on the evening of Sunday, October 28.

Later the same evening, the driver of the vehicle was apprehended by the taxi driver, and officers arrested the man on Warrington Road, in Lower Ince.

Police want to trace the woman who was originally approached by the bogus cabbie and alerted the genuine taxi driver.

They also want to speak to a woman who was in the Nissan X Trail on Warrington Road at the time the taxi driver apprehended the man.

Police believe they could be crucial witnesses.

The woman who spoke to the taxi driver was said to be in her late 20s or early 30s, of medium build with shoulder length dark hair and wearing a maroon jumper. She spoke to the driver near the taxi rank at Brocol House, King Street.

The second woman, said to be in the car, was white, in her late teens to early 20s, slim, with blonde hair and wearing a cream or white short dress.

Detective Constable Craig Hurst of Wigan CID said: “We are progressing very well with our investigation.

“We now desperately need to speak to these two women, as they could hold crucial information that will help us put the perpetrator of this appalling sexual attack behind bars.

“I appeal to these womento get in touch with police immediately. We simply want to speak to them about what they know.

“I would also continue to ask anyone who has information about either the original sexual assault, or the whereabouts of the silver Nissan X Trail vehicle over the last two weeks, to call us.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 7259 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.