An East Kilbride cabbie falsely accused of rape says he is still living in fear despite his name being cleared.
William Millar, 57, was forced to endure the horror and humiliation of a strip-search and 18 hours in police custody after Fiona Scanlan accused him of trying to rape her in his taxi.
The Greenhills grandad, who has a heart condition, told the News her “despicable” lie ruined his life, threatened his health and nearly cost him his livelihood.
Scanlan, 40, told cops William pulled into a secluded area and sexually assaulted her while driving her home to Rutherglen from a wedding at the Crutherland House Hotel in March 2014.
She was finally exposed as a liar when the EKCO taxi’s GPS tracker proved his cab never took a detour on that fateful night.
William, a divorced dad-of-four, said: “I was ready to give up my job, I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I could have ended up going to jail for something I never did and wondered how I was going to tell my kids. It was horrendous.”
William said he was called to the East Kilbride hotel shortly before midnight and watched as a drunken Scanlan was carried out of the hotel.
Initially refusing to take her, against his better judgment he agreed, being aware of EKCO Taxis’ policy of safety for single women.
“Before I picked her up she was giving out abuse,” said William.
“I’m not sure if it was aimed at anyone in particular, she was just steaming drunk. She had to be carried into my taxi.
“She was fine until we got to Peel Park then she started with the abuse again, ranting and raving, shouting ‘You’ve just went by my f*****g house.’
“I told her we’d not even left East Kilbride yet and just carried on but all I was getting from her was ‘You’re a d******d’, ‘you’re a f*****g w****r’.
“By the time I got to the end of the Carmunnock Bypass, I told her I’d had enough, ‘I want you out my car’, and was stopping at Aitkenhead Road police station.
“She kicked off again saying she was a psychiatric nurse and I was nothing but a psycho.
“I didn’t think she was capable of getting out of the car on her own but she followed me into the police station.
“She started shouting stuff like ‘rape’. I told the officer I just wanted her out of my car and hoped that they could get her home safely.
“Then I saw her whisper something into the officer’s ear.”
William was ordered to stay put while Scanlan was taken into an interview room. Thirty minutes later, he was escorted down a corridor, told an allegation of sexual assault was being made against him and that he was being held in custody.
William’s trousers and jacket were taken away for forensic testing and he was locked in a cell for several hours before being interrogated by police.
His taxi was also impounded to check for DNA.
“I was put in a cell till about seven in the morning then told she’d now accused me of attempted rape,” he said.
“Then I had to go and get a full medical before the police interview. I wasn’t released till about 8pm that night. It was hell.”
William spoke of his relief when a detective called, seven months later, to say he was no longer under investigation and that Scanlan had been reported to the procurator fiscal.
But he revealed his mental health has suffered as a result of Scanlan’s “ludicrous” lies.
He said: “It was a big relief. I didn’t realise how much stress I was under at the time but when I got that call, I was nearly in tears, I was shaking like a leaf.
“To a certain extent she’s ruined my life. I have felt under a lot of stress and before this I’d already had a heart attack and a stroke. I went back to work for a few days once I got my taxi back but I ended up having to go to the doctor for something.
“I kept thinking, ‘What if I pick up a single female and it happens again?’ I had that fear. It was getting to the stage I couldn’t breathe and was starting to take panic attacks.
“I still have that worry even though I have a camera in the car now.”
Scanlan was arrested in October 2014 when cops gathered evidence from William’s GPS tracker proving his innocence.
She wept in the dock at Glasgow Sheriff Court last Wednesday as Sheriff John McCormick warned her she was facing jail.
He told her: “This was an appalling allegation made while under the influence against someone endeavouring to take you home.”
William, who now works for Kelvin Kabs, has vowed to face his accuser in court when she is sentenced on December 7 and hopes the sheriff will impose the harshest possible sentence.
He said: “If this case had gone ahead against me and I had been found guilty, I’d have received a custodial sentence.
“What I’ve been through because of her – the medical and everything else – I felt as though I’d been raped.
“They can throw away the key as far as I’m concerned. She should be given the same as I would have been given.
“It’s one of the most horrendous things a guy can go through. I said to the police at the time I’d much rather have been sitting in that cell for attempted murder than something like that.
“I know most women aren’t like that but a small percentage think they can use that rape word as a weapon – it’s despicable.
“She’s done a lot of women a disservice. What she’s done is make it harder for real rape victims to come forward. She’s a grown woman and she should know better.
“I feel sorry for her family but she’s put me through hell. I just hope she gets what she deserves.”
William is now calling for new legislation to be introduced to make it compulsory for cabs to have CCTV.
He is the first cabbie in East Kilbride to have his taxi fitted with a camera.
William said: “The first thing I did when I got my car back was to ask the company to get me permission from the council to get a camera.
“I’m happy that I’ve now got CCTV in the car.
“After what’s happened to me, I still have that worry – even with the camera there – but it does make me feel a lot safer. Other drivers have got cameras in their cars now too which is all down to me.
“South Lanarkshire Council should make cameras compulsory for all cabbies.
“So many things happen to taxi drivers – robbed, attacked with knives, people doing run-offs without paying – so hopefully it would prevent crime.”
Despite feeling some level of security with his new recording device, William’s recent trauma has forced him to change from nightshift
But he still lives with the fear of being wrongly accused again. He said: “I know I have the support of my family and friends but I still wonder if people think I actually did this.
“I was in work, off work, I changed my shifts – I was constant nightshift but since then I’ve just done day shifts.
“I still have my fear even with the camera there.”
A scheme to help ease the problems of drivers was piloted in Glasgow in 2014.
The city council tried to introduce CCTV in taxis in 2009 but dropped the idea after the Information Commissioner recommended not taking it forward.
There were concerns of legal action due to infringement of civil liberties.