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By Court Reporter Friday 22 November 2013 Updated: 26/11 10:48
A TAXI driver who engaged in ‘heavy petting’ with a woman passenger who it was obvious had the mind of a child has been jailed for six years.
Ernest Grainger, of Alne Bank Road in Alcester was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
The 62-year-old had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two offences of causing or inciting a person with a mental disorder impeding her free choice to engage in sexual activity.
Grainger was working as a taxi driver and the woman was described as a vulnerable adult with tests putting her mental capacity in the bottom one per cent of the population.
The woman had been a passenger in Grainger’s taxi and it was clear she was friendly towards him.
On one journey to a swimming baths, not understanding how he was viewing her behaviour, she had undone some of her clothing to show him her swimming costume.
The court heard on two occasions she was a passenger in Grainger's taxi he had invited her back to his house where they engaged in sexual activity including heavy petting and oral sex.
The matter came to light because one of the woman’s friends became concerned about things she was saying about Grainger, and the police were contacted.
When officers looked at her phone they found text exchanges of an intimate nature – although Grainger had deleted them from his phone in case his wife found them.
Grainger’s victim told the police she was not really consenting to what took place and that she was frightened by it.
When Grainger was arrested he admitted he realised the woman was vulnerable, but in assessing her mental age as that of a late teenager he was ‘minimising just how vulnerable she was.’
Grainger should have been dealt with last month but failed to attend before being arrested the next day. As a result he was jailed for 21 days.
Nick Devine, defending, said Grainger was previously of good character and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
"It is no exaggeration to say that as a result of this he has ruined his life. He feels profound regret and shame," he said.
"For his family, they have faced the humiliation of having Mr Grainger’s name and the offences reported in the local press and the events of October also reported widely."
He added Grainger had misinterpreted the victim's childlike behaviour and the question of her mental capacity had not been considered.
Jailing Grainger, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: "You must have known she was highly vulnerable, and not at all in a position to consent to sexual activity with you. This is a very serious criminal offence."
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