Sat | Sep 25, 2021

TAXI RAPISTS CONVICTED

Men found guilty of sexual offences after luring women into fake cab

Published:Saturday | June 19, 2021 | 12:09 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Staff Reporter

Two men who used a fake taxi to rape three women during a near month-long crime spree four years ago have been convicted for a slew of sex-related crimes. In one incident, which occurred in 2017, a then-23-year-old woman boarded the fake taxi in...

Two men who used a fake taxi to rape three women during a near month-long crime spree four years ago have been convicted for a slew of sex-related crimes.

In one incident, which occurred in 2017, a then-23-year-old woman boarded the fake taxi in the busy New Kingston business district and was quickly blindfolded.

She was sexually assaulted several times over a near five-hour period before she was freed by her captors, according to evidence presented in court.

In addition to rape, Michael Swaby, the driver of the car, was found guilty of illegal possession of firearm, grievous sexual assault, forcible abduction, inflicting grievous bodily harm, assault and making use of a firearm to commit a scheduled offence (rape).

Dwayne Edwards, his accomplice, was convicted of illegal possession of firearm, forcible abduction, inflicting serious bodily harm, grievous sexual assault and making use of a firearm to commit a scheduled offence (grievous sexual assault).

Similar incidents

The charges stem from three incidents which occurred on October 31, November 18 and November 25, all in 2017. They are to be sentenced on July 17.

The convictions in the Home Circuit yesterday come amid a recent spate of similar incidents in several parishes.

Since the start of this year, at least 18 persons have fallen victims to hoodlums posing as taxi operators, according to a recent Sunday Gleaner exposé based on a review of police incident reports.

Five women were robbed and/or sexually assaulted while the other 13 victims – seven women and six men – were robbed of cash, cell phones and other personal belongings, according to the police reports.

“This conviction will send a message,” one senior prosecutor told The Gleaner, while heaping praises on detectives at the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse for their handling of the three cases.

In the case against Swaby and Edwards, prosecutors Orette Brown and Hodine Williams led evidence in court that the then-23-year-old woman was walking to a bus stop on Trafalgar Road about 9:30 p.m. on October 31, 2017.

The woman told investigators she heard and car horn and turned around to see a white Toyota Probox pulled up beside her with a male driver and a male passenger in the front.

She said both men began acting suspiciously and that was when she checked the door nearest to her and found that it was locked.

The woman said she began to scream and the man in the front passenger seat – Edwards – pulled a gun, pointed it at her and said, “Hey [expletive redacted] gal, don’t move”.

According to her account, Edwards pulled on her hair and hit her to the head while saying, “Hey gal, you nuh hear say you fi hold dung you head an stop you noise?”

She said both men came around to the back seat, where Edwards used the firearm to hit her repeatedly in the face while Swaby was hitting her to the head.

The men later took her to a house, where they took turns sexually assaulting her.

In the second incident on November 19, 2017, the then-29-year-old victim also boarded the fake taxi along Trafalgar Road.

She said the driver, she identified as Swaby, indicated that he would allow her to exit after he turned on to Surbiton Avenue, but said Edwards, who was seated in the rear passenger seat, grabbed her by the neck, placed a gun to her head and told her not to make any noise.

According to her account, Edwards forced her to perform a sex act before they returned her bank card along with $500 in cash.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com