Motorist denies sex attack

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A YOUNG woman who got into a car mistakenly believing it was a taxi, found herself locked in the vehicle with the driver demanding sexual activity, it has been alleged.

The shocked 30-year-old told a jury that when the driver, Barry Smith, stopped the car near her Beech Hill home she asked how much the fare was but he told her she did not need to pay him.

But instead he asked her to perform a sex act on him, “He said it was because his wife did not give him much at all and that I was a good looking girl,” said the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

“I was shocked. I said I didn’t understand what he meant. I just wanted to get out of the car. He had locked the doors when I got in. He opened his pants and exposed himself to me,” she claimed.

The woman said that he grabbed her hand and forced her to touch him intimately and she tried to pull her hand away. “I was screaming for him to let me out of the car.

“He said, ‘what was I creating a fuss for?’ and he let me out of the car. I telephoned my friend and told her what had happened. He drove off and I felt sick.”

Smith, 58, of Bengairn Close, Whelley, is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court denying an offence of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent on October 14 last year.

Zillah Williams, prosecuting, told the jury that Smith was tracked down two weeks later thanks to two women who had heard about the incident and a public spirited taxi driver.

She said that on the evening of the incident the woman had been out drinking in local pubs and clubs but became separated from her friends.

She flagged down what she thought was a taxi in the town centre and got into the front seat of the silver Nissan X-trail.

“Smith was driving around the streets of Wigan that night to prey on such unsuspecting and vulnerable females,” claimed MIss Williams.

After the incident the victim rang the police and made a statement just after 4am that morning. The car was seen on CCTV footage but not the registration plate and police made a public appeal for information.

On Saturday, October 27 two women were in the town centre waiting for a lift home and saw a vehicle matching the wanted car driving past them three times and they noted the registration number and looked at the driver.

They approached a nearby taxi driver and told him to keep an eye out. Sometime later he spotted it on Darlington Street and noticed a lone woman walking in the same direction and so turned his car round.

He saw the woman get into the front passenger seat and became concerned when she disappeared from view and carried out “the bold move” of overtaking the vehicle and pulling in front of it, making it stop.

He ran to the vehicle and spoke to the woman but did not hear her reply because Smith talked over her. In a panicked state she fled and the driver snatched the ignition keys and flagged down a passing police vehicle and Smith was arrested.

When questioned he admitted he had given a woman a ride home on October 14 and refused any money but denied any sexual activity.

He described himself as “a Good Samaritan” and said he had picked up the woman in the later incident as she appeared distressed and wanted to help her. He denied any sexual activity. He said he often drove round the streets at night as his marriage had broken down and he would drive round talking on the phone to a woman friend.