A TRAFFORD man sexually assaulted a woman on her way home from a night out, while pretending to be a taxi driver.

In the early hours of December 23, the 22-year-old victim had been out in Chester with friends when she became separated as she attempted to help a man claiming to be ill at the side of the road near Debenhams.

She decided to try and take him home and flagged down what she thought was a taxi on Eastgate Street.

The pair got into a silver Renault Espace being driven by 46-year-old Nadeem Sultan and gave him details for their drop off points.

Unbeknown to her the car was actually a private vehicle and Sultan did not have a licence to operate as a taxi driver, nor any insurance to drive the vehicle.

Only a short distance into the journey it became clear that the man found near Debenhams was not ill and had been using the victim to get a free ride home.

Realising this, Sultan ordered the man to get out of the car, shocking the woman and leaving her visibly upset.

Once alone with the victim, who was sat on the front passenger seat, Sultan plied her with a constant flow of compliments on her looks, telling her that she was perfect and that he "could never find a woman like her".

He then put his hand on her leg and, with his fingers on her inner thigh, began to stroke her.

Frightened and concerned that she was in a vulnerable position, the woman immediately pushed Sultan's hand away and asked him to stop.

When the car stopped a short time later she managed to get out of the car and fled into some woodland where she called for help.

Sultan of Stamford Road, Old Trafford, was sentenced to two years in prison at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday.

He was also handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

At an earlier hearing the 46-year-old had been found guilty of sexual assault by touching following a three-day trial.

Speaking after the sentencing, Neighbourhood Inspector Emma Parry, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “Sultan subjected his victim to a terrifying ordeal.

“She was alone, trapped in a vehicle with a man she had never met before who had targeted her to fulfil his own sexual gratification.

“The victim placed her trust in Sultan, believing that he was a genuine taxi driver. He totally abused this trust.

“Being inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted by a stranger is the stuff of nightmares and I cannot praise the victim enough for her bravery in reporting her ordeal to the police and giving evidence against Sultan in court.”

Police Constable William McMillan, Chester City Centre Beat Manager, also praised the victim's courage shown "throughout the investigation".

He added: “Thanks to her bravery, and the hard work of officers here at Chester, Sultan is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions.

“I hope that the custodial sentence that Sultan has been handed will provide reassurance to the victim and deter others from committing similar offences.”

To report a sexual offence call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.