A 39-year-old Nigerian security guard in London, United Kingdom, Sola Warikwah, has been jailed for raping a woman who mistook his car for her pre-booked cab.
Warikwah, who had appeared at the Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, was jailed for seven years, uplifted with an additional three years to be served on licence, for rape.
He was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life, Metropolice said.
During the trial, the court heard how in the early hours of April 22, 2019, the 25-year-old female victim got into Warikwah’s car at Embankment, believing him to be the mini-cab that had been booked to take her home. Instead, he drove her to a multi-storey car park in Victoria, where he raped her.
The convict, originally from Rumuji community in the Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, was a security guard at the time. His duties included patrolling areas in central London during the night – the car park where the offence took place was one of the patrol sites on his route.
Warikwah told jurors that they had consensual sex, but the victim claimed she was a lesbian and woke up to find him raping her.
During her ordeal, the woman managed to send messages that she had been raped to a friend. When she eventually managed to escape from the vehicle, the woman took pictures of her attacker as he left the scene.
Detectives from Westminster launched an immediate investigation, conducting extensive CCTV, phone and vehicle enquiries that ultimately identified Warikwah. Once identified, he was located and was arrested at his home address two days later.
Prosecutor Paul Casey said: “It’s an abuse of trust. He must have, if not impersonated, then allowed her to sustain the impression he was a taxi driver.
“She was locked in at least for those minutes. It does amount to not quite an abduction, but prolonged detention and sustained over the time the rape took place whilst stationary in the NCP car park,” he added.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said: “Since the attack, my life has been turned upside down. I still don’t know how I will overcome it and be 100% the person I was before. Initially, I did not want to be in my body and on bad days I still don’t.”
The victim has since the attack, been suffering from anxiety and paranoia and has been receiving therapy.
Warikwah had previously been found guilty of the offence by a unanimous jury verdict following a week-long trial – at the same court on Friday, September 18.