Taxi driver who raped and sexually assaulted teens in cab jailed

Saifal Zaveri was jailed for eight years after raping a 17-year-old student in 2021 and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in 2020.

Taxi driver Saifal Zaveri who raped and sexually assaulted teens in private hire handed jail term Google Maps

A taxi driver who raped a teenager and sexually assaulted another in his private hire has been jailed for eight years.

Saifal Zaveri preyed on a terrified 17-year-old student after picking her up in Dundee on August 14, 2021.

The married 42-year-old had earlier molested and groped another young woman in his private hire taxi on March 1, 2020.

On Thursday, Zaveri was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

He had been convicted of rape and sexual assault after a trial in Edinburgh in June.

It emerged Zaveri already had a previous conviction for stalking a teenage girl when he was aged 36 at the time.

His lawyer Kris Gilmartin told the sentencing hearing that the rapist had urged him to ask Lord Fairley to consider an alternative to jail.

But, the judge dismissed the request for what he branded “opportunistic and predatory” crimes aggravated by a serious breach of trust.

Praising the two victims, Lord Fairley told Zaveri: “The young women demonstrated great courage in giving evidence against you.

“It did not surprise me the jury found you guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

“I have now read the victim statements and it is quite clear your actions have had a devastating effect on each of them.

“Your instructions to Mr Gilmartin to seek a non custodial sentence are wildly unrealistic and reflect a troubling lack of insight to the seriousness of your offending.”

Zaveri will be monitored for a further three years on his release and be on the sex offenders list indefinitely.

A woman in a group of his family and friends collapsed in tears in the courtroom as he was lead handcuffed to the cells.

The rape victim earlier told jurors how Zaveri had been driving her to address in Dundee when he instead pulled into a lay-by.

She recalled: “I was scared. I just remember him going on about sexual things.

“First of all he was saying I was good looking and then he went to kissing me.

“I had a top on with a zip down the front of it and he unzipped it.”

The young woman told prosecutor Margaret Barron her attacker was aggressive before going on to rape her.

Zaveri went on to state to her: “That was good.”

The teenager eventually escaped before contacting a friend in tears via Snapchat.

Zaveri had earlier pounced on a 16-year-old girl on a journey from Dundee to Monifieth in Angus.

He struck as she sat in the front of his taxi.

Zaveri, also of Dundee, claimed in his evidence that there had been consensual sexual activity with the rape victim.

He told jurors: “I let my family down.”

The predator also insisted nothing happened with the other girl and that all was “fine” when the teenager and her friend got out his vehicle.

The court heard that Zaveri maintained his innocence.

A number of letters of support – including from his wife and an Islamic society group – were handed to Lord Fairley to consider.

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