A bogus driver who squeezed a woman’s leg has lost his PHV licence after eight complaints about “sexu- alised” comments. According to the Liverpool Echo, ex-PH driver Joseph Prior, 40, went out late at night trying to pick up illegal fares and targeted a “drunk” lone woman. After she got in the his Ford Focus, he pulled into a quiet street, then put his hand on the “terrified” 23-year-old’s thigh. When she rejected his advances, he took her to a McDonald’s drive-thru where she mouthed “help” to staff who rang police. Prior was jailed for 18 months after admitting common assault and offering his victim cocaine during her ordeal. He has also been banned from having any female, child or adult, in a car, apart from in a very limited set of circum- stances. This unique Criminal Behaviour Order was imposed after a judge set out a history of complaints against him. Judge Rachel Smith said his private hire licence, issued by Sefton Borough

Council, was re- voked in February 2018. Liverpool Crown Court heard this followed an investigation into allegations made by eight women in 2016 and 2017.

Judge Smith said these passengers alleged Prior made “sexually inappro- priate comments” and or attempted to engage them in “sexual conversation”. The judge said none of these allega- tions led to criminal convictions. But she said: “You had been warned about your behaviour in 2016, but per- sisted in it, and further allegations in 2017 led to your licence being revoked.” Judge Smith added: “Notwithstanding the revocation of your licence in Febru- ary 2018, you attempted to seek self-employed taxi work with Britannia Taxis in March that year, and worked for them until November 2018, when they were informed of the situation relating

to your licence being revoked by Sefton Borough Council.” The judge said Prior was aware of these past allegations and had been remind- ed of his obligations to female passengers. She said it was reasonable to infer he would have been left in “no doubt” about the standards he had to uphold. The court heard Prior was posing as a taxi driver when he picked up the woman as she walked along Vauxhall Road shortly after midnight on March 9, 2019. He told her “don’t worry, your mum won’t be worrying, we’ll get you home later” and asked about her boyfriends. Zillah Williams, prosecuting, said the victim “was very uncomfortable and was afraid of what he might do to her”. Ms Williams said the victim was “terri- fied” and added: “An inference that could be drawn is that he was over friendly to see if he got anywhere, and when he didn’t, he drove off and they carried on to McDonald’s.”


A West Sussex man has been jailed for seven years after grooming and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. SussexLive reports that Andrew Cullen, 53, from Worthing, and formerly of Wick, was convicted on January 20. This involved one count of grooming and five of sexual assault by touching, against the teenager, following a week- and-a-half long trial. He was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday 5 March, to serve the first five years in custody and remaining two years on extended prison licence supervision. Cullen, who had been a licensed taxi driver in Worthing, has already been

APRIL 2021

dismissed from his employment and had his licence removed.

He will also be a registered sex offender for life and was given a

Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court order, severely restricting his access to computer devices and young people. Detective Constable Louise Clark of Chichester CID said; “Cullen made con- tact with this young girl and systematically groomed her on many occasions over a period of months. The

direct sexual contact was limited but his intention was clear. “Eventually his activity was uncovered in June 2019 when by mistake he drove the girl in his taxi to what he thought was a quiet lane in Crossbush but which was in fact the drive to some- one’s house. “As they were there, the owners returned home and confronted him, realised what was happening, and told the police. “This is another example of the way in which youngsters can be vulnerable to approaches, often online, from people they do not know and who have sinister intentions.”


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