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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Cumbrian taxi driver accused of sex attack

A TAXI driver has gone on trial accused of carrying out a sex attack on a passenger.

Dariusz Kowalczyk, 48, is accused of “behaving in a sexually predatory way” and of launching a serious assault on the woman after parking in a secluded part of Carlisle.

Kowalczyk, of Esther Street on the city’s Currock estate, denies orally raping the woman after she hailed his cab when leaving a nightspot.

His trial got underway at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday, where barrister Timothy Brennand outlined the case against the cabbie.

Kowalczyk, a Polish national, sat alongside an interpreter in the dock as the court hearing began.

Mr Brennand said the woman at the centre of the case, who is in her early twenties, had been out in the city centre and had become separated from friends at the Outrageous nightspot in English Street.

“She decided, having lost contact with her friends, she was going to make her own way home,” Mr Brennand told a jury.

“She went to a taxi rank and got into a taxi being driven by the defendant.”

The woman asked to be taken to the north of the city but Mr Brennand said she was taken out of the city, near to the London Road junction of the M6.

In a taped interview played to the court on video, the woman told officers: “The man took me the wrong way. He didn’t take me home.”

Mr Brennand said the cabbie drove to a “dark and secluded area and parked up”.

The woman, he added, was ordered to get out of the back and into the front of the car.

“She was manipulated and, the prosecution say, coerced and threatened to behave in this particular way,” said the barrister.

The court was told she was ordered to perform a sexual act on the cabbie but she refused.

Mr Brennand said Kowalczyk then drove her to a “quiet spot” at Stainton, near Etterby, Carlisle.

There, he said, Kowalczyk is alleged to have carried out the attack. This lasted for a few seconds, the court heard, and the woman got out of the taxi.

“It’s not clear from the evidence whether she was bundled out or was able to escape,” said Mr Brennand.

She was found by a passing motorist in a distressed state, the jury was told.

“The prosecution contend she was in no fit state to give any consent to what this defendant had on his mind at all,” said the barrister.

Kowalczyk was arrested and told officers the woman had made an advance to him while in his cab.

Mr Brennand said: “He claimed everything from the beginning to the end was consensual.”

The attack is alleged to have happened on March 18 last year.

The trial continues.

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