A TAXI driver has been jailed for raping a woman in his cab.

Ferham Khan was working as a taxi driver in Winchester on September 30, 2017, when he picked up the woman from Broadway at around 1am.

Southampton Crown Court heard how the 33-year-old victim had been enjoying a night out with her friends and, at the end of the evening, called for a taxi to take her home.

The 29-year-old driver from Derby Road, Southampton, believed his passenger had fallen asleep, pulled over in an unknown location and sexually assaulted and orally raped her.

The court heard the woman was so scared that she froze.

When Khan thought she had passed out through having too much to drink, he called the police and complained that he had an unconscious woman in his car and that he wanted her removed.

As soon as police and paramedics turned up, the woman told them of her ordeal.

Khan was immediately arrested and his taxi seized for forensic examination.

When questioned by officers, Khan claimed it was an accident, saying that the woman had fallen on him while he had his trousers unbuttoned.

Later Khan admitted that was a lie which he had told because he was concerned his wife would find out that he’d had a sexual encounter with another woman.

However, Khan went on, claiming the victim had started touching him first and even suggested sex in return for a cheaper fare.

During a seven-day trial at Southampton Crown Court the jury found Khan guilty by unanimous verdict.

In a statement to the court, the victim said: “On that night, I did as any young woman would. I went out with friends and I took a taxi home. What happened in the taxi destroyed me. That man shattered my world into tiny pieces. The pain and suffering I have endured because of what he did to me has left me broken. I don’t know who I am anymore. This man has stripped me of my identity.

“At the moment I am simply surviving, I take each day as it comes and pray that one day I will feel like me again and be able to start living.”

The judge sentenced the Wessex Cars employee to 12 years’ imprisonment.

Following the sentence, Farooq Khan – who is not relation to Ferham – the director of the Winchester’s based taxi firm, said Khan had been working for the company for a month when the incident happened. Farooq Khan said the offender had passed the DBS checks and added: “We assisted the police. He was suspended straight away.”

He added that he did not think the 12-year sentence was sufficient.

Farooq Khan also said that there was no camera in the taxi as, according to Winchester City Council’s policy, they are not obliged to have one, unlike taxis registered with other councils such as Southampton.

Police staff investigator Joanne Parr-Daniels praised the victim’s bravery.

“We are so impressed with her courage. No matter how traumatic this has been for her and continues to be, she has supported this protracted and a complex investigation of rape. Without her, we would not have been able to get Khan to face justice for what he did.

“I hope now this sentence means she will be able to move forward with her life.”