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Saturday, August 01, 2015
'Bogus' taxi driver alert as three women sexually assaulted after being picked up in Manchester city centre
Three women were sexually assaulted after being picked up by a ‘bogus’ taxi driver.
All three victims were picked up in Manchester city centre in the early hours then driven away and attacked at isolated locations.
Police chiefs said that on each occasion, they were led to believe that the car they were getting into was a genuine taxi.
A major investigation to determine whether the incidents are linked is continuing. The attacks took place over a 72-hour period.
Police chiefs have issued an alert over bogus taxi drivers as a result and issued crucial safety advice to women about getting home following nights out in Manchester city centre.
Detectives fear they may be more victims. Det Sgt Mark Astbury said: “I would ask anyone who may have been approached or been a victim to call us as soon as possible.”
The first attack happened at around 5.15am on Thursday. A 28-year-old woman got into what she thought was a taxi after a night out with friends - a silver vehicle in Piccadilly Gardens, near to the bus station.
She told a man behind the wheel where she wanted to go and he started to drive. The car was stopped near Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, and the woman was sexually assaulted.
The second attack took place at around 3am on Saturday. An 18-year-old woman got into what was described to her as a taxi near 42nd Street nightclub on Bootle Street. She was driven to the Prestwich area and attacked.
Then, at around 2.45am yesterday, a woman was driven to Philips Park Road West inWhitefield, near Bury, and sexually assaulted. The 23-year-old woman got into the car, possibly a silver Mercedes, on Peter Street in the city centre following a night out.
The man behind the wheel is described as being Asian and aged in his 30s. He was possibly wearing glasses and had short dark hair.
Det Sgt Astbury said: “We are working to establish whether all three incidents are connected or not, but clearly this is a worrying set of circumstances. In all three incidents, the victims have been led to believe they are getting into a genuine taxi before they have been sexually assaulted.
“Please ensure you use licensed taxi companies by either pre-booking or going to a designated taxi rank. Stay together on a night out, and never get into an unknown car without checking it is a licensed taxi first. If you are unsure, go to a taxi rank, particularly if you are on your own.”
Call police in Manchester city centre on 0161 856 3221 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.