|Man sentenced for sexually assaulting a woman who believed he was a taxi driver
A man has been sentenced for sexually assaulting a woman who believed he was a taxi driver.
Barry Smith (born 17/08/55) of Bengairn Close, Wigan has today Thursday 16 January 2013 been sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to four years in prison.
He has also been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.
About 4.10am on Sunday 14 October 2012, a 29-year-old woman was picked up in Wigan town centre in what she believed was a taxi.
The driver took her to the Beech Hill area of Wigan where he sexually assaulted her.
On 28 October 2012, Smith was arrested on Warrington Lane, Lower Ince, on suspicion of sexual assault, after a genuine taxi driver came across him.
Earlier in the night the genuine taxi driver had been approached by a young woman who told him that she had seen an appeal from the police on Facebook and that they sought the driver of the silver Nissan X Trail in connection with sexual offences.
This woman told the taxi driver that the Nissan had been driving around the town centre and the driver was wanted by the police for pretending to be a taxi driver trying to pick up young girls.
The woman had the Nissan's registration number and gave it to the genuine taxi driver.
When Smith was stopped by the genuine taxi driver a young woman was inside the Nissan.
The taxi driver detained Smith until the police arrived, but the young woman had left before officers could speak to her.
Detective Constable Craig Hurst of Wigan division said: “Today, Smith has been sentenced for sexually assaulting a young woman he picked up in Wigan town centre.
“He drove around that night searching the streets for a vulnerable woman to pick up and exploit.
“She was trying to flag down a taxi and when Smith stopped she thought he was a taxi driver and got in.
“When she asked how much the fare was, he said he did not want any money and she could pay him in other ways. Smith went on to sexually assault her before she managed to escape.
“Smith could have gone on to commit further crimes if it was not for the fast acting taxi driver who followed his car and detained him until the police arrived.
“Smith has denied his guilt throughout making his victim stand up in court and relive her ordeal all over again.
"Thankfully, she showed the courage to come forward and help us with our investigation and put Smith where he belongs; behind bars.”
Greater Manchester is nationally recognised as a model of good practice in terms of support services available to victims.
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.
You can call Greater Manchester Police on 101, or alternatively people can refer themselves to St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0161 276 6515.
Your welfare is our priority and we have 900 specially trained officers working on a 24-hour basis to offer advice and support to victims.
St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.
Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential support service run by women for women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused. Confidential helpline: 0161 273 4500. Black and Minority Ethnic helpline: 0161 273 4514.