A TAXI passenger has told a jury that a driver sexually assaulted her before pestering her to perform a sex act on him.
Andi Cars driver Ioan Sofronici is accused of attacking the woman in the early hours after he arrived near an address in Hayling Island having picked her up in Portsmouth.
The crown say this was a case of a man taking advantage of a drunk womanChristopher Wing
It is then alleged the 26-year-old, of Bramble Road, Southsea, drove away with the woman still in the car and down a dark lane.
She told police in a recorded interview she feared he could have done anything if she left the car.
Giving evidence via the video at Portsmouth Crown Court, the woman said she had asked how much the fare was when he kissed her.
She said: ‘He kissed me. He’s full on kissed me and grabbed me. Tried to stick his tongue down my throat.
‘I just froze. I didn’t know what to do and the next breath he said “let’s get in the back” I said “no, let’s not get in the back”. I don’t do things like that.’
She said the driver assaulted her after kissing her as she sat in the passenger seat of the pre-booked taxi.
She said she felt sick and dizzy. She said she had drunk three glasses of vodka and lemonade in Portsmouth but was still aware of what was going on around her.
‘I said “how much was the taxi?” one last time and he started driving off down the road,’ she added.
‘I think I was panicking. I’m not usually a panicky person.
‘He was slowing down going down the back bit where I couldn’t see anything.’
The woman said he then parked up asked again for her to perform a sex act on him.
Asked by Christopher Wing, prosecuting, why she did not leave the car she said: ‘I had no shoes on. It was a bit frightening to be honest.
‘If was to walk back along that road he could have done anything else.
‘I was trying to keep him happy to get me home.’
The pair smoked a cigarette each but the woman did not finish hers, she said.
She added: ‘He realised I had panic in my face. Maybe I showed my panic and he decided to say “anyway I’ve got a wife, I’m a ...aren’t I”.
‘I said “no” I didn’t want to upset him. But I said “how many times have you done this to your woman? You should treasure your wife”.
‘He was grinning.’
She said Sofronici then said he wanted to have sex with her but she told him to take her home.
Jurors heard an audio recording of her call to Andy Cars asking an operator for the name of the driver when she returned home.
The operator told her she could not do so due to ‘data protection’ but said she would ‘pull’ the driver off the road.
The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, then called 999 and told the operator she ‘sort of pushed him away, I tried getting out the car’.
Mr Wing said: ‘The crown say this was a case of a man taking advantage of a drunk woman. She was within his control as he was driving.’
But Flavia Kenyon, for Sofronici, put it to the woman there had been a ‘sexual chemistry’ between the pair with a conversation about a foot massage.
She said the woman paid Sofronici twice – all of which the woman, speaking from behind a screen during cross-examination, rejected.
Ms Kenyon said the woman kissed the driver back but the alleged victim said that happened in a ‘split second’.
Mr Wing said in police interview Sofronici had said nothing happened.
But his defence has since changed and he now says the sexual activity was consensual, Mr Wing said.