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CABBIE SEX ATTACKER GOES FREE; Mercy for pervert who abducted passenger.

Byline: GORDON CURRIE reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

A TAXI driver who abducted and sexually assaulted a passenger dodged a prison sentence yesterday.

Danish Masood, 33, locked the doors of his cab then drove the terrified woman around Perth before molesting her.

Perth sheriff Michael Fletcher told him it was a serious crime, then gave him 200 hours of community service. Masood will also be on the sex offenders' register until 2019.

Married dad Masood picked up his passenger on November 2, 2012, then locked her inside his taxi before groping her and trying to kiss her.

She has struggled to get over her ordeal, the court heard.

Masood, of Perth, denied the attack but was convicted after trial and appeared for sentence yesterday.

Sheriff Fletcher told him: "This offence is a serious one.

"It is particularly serious because of the fact it is committed by you whilst you were acting as a taxi driver.

"Members of the public are encouraged to take taxis rather than walk because it is thought to be safer.

"To find an offence such as this being committed will give the public particular concern.

"The victim indicated she suffered quite serious upset and difficulty as a result of this offence, and that must be taken into account.

"A custodial sentence would be appropriate.

"However, you haven't committed any other offences and haven't in prison before.

"So a custodial sentence in circumstances is only appropriate if there is no other way I can deal with it.

"Taking into account the fact you are effectively a first offender, it is possible to deal with it in a noncustodial way."

Masood's lawyer, Alan Robertson, said social workers had assessed his client as a low risk to the public.

He added that Masood's wife, who is pregnant with their second child, is standing by him.

Robertson said: "There are no public protection issues. There are no alcohol issues and he does not use offender drugs either."

Masood was stripped of his taxi licence after the attack, and Robertson said: "That would reduce any possibility of any further offending of this nature."

But Scottish Women's Aid said later: "This must have been a terrible ordeal for the woman, who was entitled to expect a safe environment in a taxi. First offender or not, this man's behaviour merits a custodial sentence.

"First offender or not, this man's behaviour merits a custodial sentence WOMEN'S AID

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LET-OFF For Masood
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jan 9, 2014
Words:407
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