A married Uber driver who sexually assaulted a 16-year-old exchange student and told her ‘This is England’ was jailed for 12 months today.
Shahid Qureshi, 42, molested the Japanese teenager less than a year after he was arrested for groping a woman in his car.
Qureshi had insisted his passengers sat in the front passenger seat before kissing and pawing them, Inner London Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor David Ryan said the Japanese schoolgirl was collected by Qureshi at Heathrow Airport on July 30 last year after flying to London to attend an English school.
‘The school organised a taxi and she ended up being picked up at Heathrow by this defendant in the car park and he told her to sit in the front seat,’ he said.
‘On the way he stopped at a petrol station and insisted that she take a drink and he also asked her for her WhatsApp account.
‘He carried on talking to her but she was tired and didn’t understand what he was saying.
‘He extended his left palm out to her and asked her to put her hand on his palm, she refused but he insisted.
‘His hand closed around hers and he kissed the back of it, he then kissed her cheek and asked her to kiss his cheek.
‘She told him “We don’t do this in Japan,” and he said, “This is England,” and asked her again, about three times.
‘She then got scared so she kissed him on the cheek very quickly and he told her that they were “best friends” and he would get her a well-paid job.’
Qureshi continued to pester her for sex on WhatsApp after he dropped her off.
A complaint was made and he was arrested several weeks later.
Qureshi admitted being the driver but denied sexual assault.
Police enquiries revealed Qureshi had been arrested in December 2016 for a similar offence.
Mr Ryan said: ‘In September 2016, the complainant was visiting her mother in hospital and ordered an Uber Pool at around eight in the evening.
‘She originally got in the rear passenger side and he explained to her she needed to get in the front as they were picking up two more passengers.
‘They were driving towards Brixton and then he said to her that she should go to a party with him.
‘He placed his hand on her right thigh, between knee and groin, before she brushed it away.’
Qureshi has a previous conviction for harassment in 2011 when he kissed and grabbed a colleague while working as a health care professional.
He is married with four children and has lived in the country for 15 years.
Judge Freya Newbery said: ‘Regrettably you haven’t really accepted what you have done.
‘I cannot regard these as offences as being “over-friendly.”’
Qureshi, of Oakland Way, High Wycombe, denied but was convicted of two counts of sexual assault. He hung his head as he was jailed for a total of 12 months. His name will remain on the sex offenders register for 10 years.