An Uber driver who took a passenger on a detour and ran his hand up her thigh has been jailed for seven months. Dorin Visanu, 30 picked the woman up in Clapham, south London on September 2 last year and within minutes asked if she had a boyfriend. Married father-of-two Visanu kept asking her out despite her rebuttals and molested her as the Uberpool drove to her house in Shoreditch, east London. Prosecutor Grace Ong said: ‘At this stage he had already touched her on numerous occasions on the thigh area.’
The woman began panicking when Visanu drove down ‘back streets’ after dropping off two other fares in Shoreditch High Street, not far from her home. He then lingered at a set of traffic lights that had already turned green, and when the woman asked him why he had stopped Visanu replied: ‘Oh, I thought you were asleep.’
The prosecutor suggested Visanu, who came to the UK from Romania 10 years ago aged 20, had been looking for ‘a quiet spot off the main road’ to sexually assault her’. ‘That’s when I really started to worry, because he wasn’t even looking at the road, he was looking at me,’ the complainant said. ‘After the lights had changed and he drove off, while he was changing gear he leaned over to brush my leg. ‘I had this dress on that he also pulled on to brush the top of my thigh.’
An Old Bailey jury took just took two hours to convict Visanu, of Moorfields, Harlow, Essex, of sexual assault. Andrew Collings, mitigating, told the judge Visanu – whose children are aged 14 and eight – is a ‘hard-working, very industrious character’ with no previous convictions. He said: ‘Mr Visanu knows he has brought great shame on himself and his family – they are a very tight community where they live.
‘Mr Visanu’s intention is to return to being that hard-working industrious man.’ Judge Anthony Leonard, QC, told Visanu: ‘Members of the public, especially women, ought to be able to take a cab without fear of being molested.
‘This offence took place late at night and it is clear to me that you took a longer route down darker back streets in order to carry out your assault on this woman. ‘You have shown no remorse for the offence you committed.’ The judge also imposed a sexual harm prevention order for a period of seven years. Visanu insisted in a prepared statement any touching was ‘absolutely accidental’ and that his initial claim the ‘drunk’ woman had been ‘smashing things’ in the car was a lie in response to the woman’s complaint to Uber. Visanu said he was ‘scared’ about losing his job and conceded she ‘looked very calm’ throughout the journey. For two weeks after the incident she would not leave her flat, and if anyone touches her in any was she ‘recoils’ from it.