Could convicted cabbie rapist have been prevented from raping passenger?

Yassar Murat Ayuc

 

What does Liverpool licensing deem to be ‘fit and proper’ for taxi and private hire drivers?

 

Yassar Murat Ayuc, 49, formerly of County Road in Walton, was convicted of raping a woman after driving her to a secluded spot near The Refreshment Rooms pub on June 5 2016. The woman described herself as being ‘10 out of 10’ on a scale of drunkenness when she got in Ayuc’s car in Argyle Street, Birkenhead at around 4.20am.

She wanted to go to a friend’s home, but Ayuc started to touch her leg and headed to Bedford Road East, where he raped her. After Ayuc drove off she went looking for help, making her way onto Rock Ferry bypass, where a taxi driver found her at 5.10am. 

However, Ayuc, said the drunken passenger had forced herself on him, was “too strong” and he feared she would damage his penis. But after a six-day trial and five hours of deliberation at Liverpool Crown Court, the jury unanimously found Ayuc – known as Turkish Tony – guilty of rape.

During the trial Robert Dudley, prosecuting, told the court the victim had wanted to go to a friend’s home, but Ayuc drove to a secluded part of town instead.

‘She got out of the car and she looked around – she could see and hear water and feel pebbles underfoot,’ he said. ‘She ended up face down on the ground. She remembers the man saying, “it’s alright”.’

When the woman felt him climb on top of her and begin to rape her, she ‘decided to play dead’.

Dudley continued: ‘She must have done so quite successfully, because the man said “oh God, oh shit”. The woman stayed completely still with her eyes closed and was aware she was being covered with leaves and branches.’

Ayuc tried to claim that the woman was under the influence of drugs, and that she had told him she was a lesbian but ‘wouldn’t mind’ performing a sexual act on him.

‘I found it wrong,’ he claimed. ‘I wanted her to stop. I said, “what are you doing?” She was strong and I couldn’t. I was worried she was going to damage my penis.’

Forensic examinations found his DNA on her jacket, jeans and underwear.

Judge Brian Cummings QC said he would assess whether Ayuc was legally considered dangerous. There are some very alarming features, in particular the manner in which she was left and the location where she was left,’ he added.

But it’s the prior history of Ayuc that raises concerns of the missed chances by regulators to take him off the road permanently.  Previously Ayuc was banned from the road for six months in 2015 after driving hen parties around in an illegal stretch limousine.

But this wasn’t his first brush with the law, as he was previously caught in an undercover police sting, when out looking for prostitutes.  The unsuspecting cabbie, repeatedly tried to entice a policewoman into his car in Devon Street, Islington.

He was fined £50 for persistently soliciting a woman for prostitution from a motor vehicle at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court in January 2007. Ayuc was then hauled before Liverpool council’s taxi driver licensing panel, which could have revoked his licence.

He begged for mercy, arguing he had lived in England for 20 years and worked as a bouncer and cabbie “with no problems”. Minutes from the April meeting recorded: “He stated that he feels ashamed, it was a stupid thing to do.

“He realised that it was wrong and drove away, but it was too late, he was stopped by the police.

“He has been punished by the courts, he deeply apologises and states it will never happen again.

“His only skill is driving. He has never assaulted anyone or used violence in his jobs as a doorman or a taxi driver.”

Having “carefully considered” Ayuc’s explanation, the panel decided to suspend his licence for just one month.

Judge Brian Cummings, QC, was informed of Ayuc’s previous conviction during his trial at Liverpool Crown Court, but demanded to know why the rapist was allowed to keep both his licences, which he still holds to this day.

A Liverpool council spokesman said: “When we are notified of arrests or convictions we review the driver’s licence and the facts are submitted to a committee and they decide whether to suspend or revoke it.

“Safeguarding the public is our number one priority and we are one of the few authorities in the UK to implement mandatory training for hackney and private hire drivers.

“This not only ensures the safety of passengers but also increases the driver’s awareness and understanding of safeguarding issues.”

Judge Cummings adjourned sentencing until January 13 next year and remanded him in custody.

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