March 2018

Taxi driver touched Wrexham schoolgirl’s arm and told her ‘you’re gorgeous’

A taxi driver made sexual comments and touched a teenager’s arm during a journey.

Philip John Clare, 59, picked up the teenager from a Wrexham county borough school last November.

As soon as the teenager got into the car, Clare started making inappropriate comments including “you’re gorgeous”.

Rhian Jackson, prosecuting at Wrexham Magistrates Court, said he also rubbed the teenager’s arm.

The student felt uncomfortable and decided to record the rest of the journey, Mrs Jackson said.

At one point the teenager said “I can’t wait to get to bed. I’m knackered” to which Clare replied: “Can I come too?”

Clare, of Connor Crescent in Hightown, Wrexham, again called the teenager gorgeous at the end of the journey.

In interview Clare denied touching the teenager and also denied making the comments – until the audio recording was played.

Clare then claimed he had meant them to be a compliment and he was not attracted to the teenager.

He added that in hindsight it was not appropriate, but he was just trying to be nice.

Magistrates heard the teenager was scared, feared coming into contact with Clare and would not go in a taxi again.

Clare pleaded guilty at a hearing on February 14 to sexual assault.

Catherine Jagger, defending, told a sentencing hearing that Clare had no previous convictions. He had lost his job and his taxi licence as a result.

A probation service recommendation, which included a 50 days rehabilitation activity requirement, was not an easy option, the court heard.

Magistrates imposed a 7pm-7am curfew for four months and a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

Clare must also register as a sex offender and pay £100 in compensation to the teenager, £85 in prosecution costs and a surcharge in the same amount.

Magistrates’ chairman Catherine Wantling told Clare: “There is a high level of expectation of trust for taxi drivers.

“You were told to go and pick up a young individual from a school, who you knew to be ill, and you abused that trust and the expectation of trust that goes with it.”