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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbria taxi driver sentenced for sexual assault on elderly woman

A CUMBRIA taxi driver in has been sentenced to two years for sexually assaulting a 94-year-old resident in a retirement property, and fraud.

Richard O’Brien
Richard O’Brien

Richard O’Brien, 58, of Dunmail Dr, Carlisle, is a self-employed taxi driver. He pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and fraud at an earlier hearing.

For years Richard O’Brien marketed his taxi services towards pensioners. He built up a client base from the most vulnerable members of the community; he also transported frail elderly people on behalf of a local charity.

The victim was introduced to him in 2001, when she was living alone, and he ran errands for her. When her care needs became such that she could no longer live independently she moved into a retirement property.

O’Brien frequented the property, handing out his business cards and offering his services to other residents. He stated during police interviews that he would ring the intercom of another resident to gain access, and would enter the retirement scheme unbeknown to staff on duty at the time.

The victim reported that almost every time O’Brien visited her at the home he would sexually assault her.

At the beginning of August 2012 a camera was placed within the lounge area of the victim’s flat in relation to another investigation. Within days of its installation Richard O’Brien was caught on camera sexually abusing his 94 year old victim.

It was also discovered that he had fraudulently withdrawn over £4,000 worth of pension payments after the death of his uncle.

DC Carolyn Willacy, from Cumbria Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: "This kind and gentle lady has suffered regular degrading assaults over a long period of time. Due to frailty of body and mind she was unable to defend herself against his abuse."

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