Taxi driver cleared

PUBLISHED: 15:51 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:16 10 June 2010

Topsham taxi driver has been cleared of sexually abusing a drunk 18-year-old in his cab late at night.

Topsham taxi driver has been cleared of sexually abusing a drunk 18-year-old in his cab late at night.

At Exeter Crown Court, a jury found 52-year-old Colin Best not guilty of sexually assaulting the teenager late at night. They had been considering their verdict over two days.

It had been alleged that Mr Best had 'satisfied his Friday lust' by telling the girl "there are other ways to pay" when she did not have the fare.

The court heard the alleged victim had been out drinking with her brother and friends all night and she had consumed at least a bottle of vodka. Then she and her brother hailed the cab to take them to an address in the city. Because they did not have any money, the girl went into the house to find her brother's wallet.

When she was unable to locate it, she went back to the taxi and her brother went into the house. She stayed so that Mr Best would not think they were trying to diddle him. But her brother fell asleep in the house and did not come out again.

Mr Best then drove off and during the ensuing journey he allegedly touched the girl's breasts and also tried to touch her private parts. She was so terrified that, eventually, she escaped by getting out of the still moving cab and hiding behind some bins in an alley for over an hour.

When he was arrested, Mr Best initially said nothing sexual had happened between them and he was shocked by her allegations.

Later he said that there had been sexual touching but it had been consensual.

Mr Best, of Gordon Road, Topsham, had denied the charge and following the verdict he was discharged by Judge Philip Wassall who awarded him his costs.

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