A man claiming to be an Uber driver allegedly raped a woman who got into his car after a night out with friends in Sydney’s east.
Police allege the English tourist, 22, was walking along Bayswater Road in Kings Cross about 12.30am on Sunday when Muhammad Naveed, 39, stopped his car beside her.
The woman, who had been in Australia for just three weeks, accepted Mr Naveed’s offer to drive her home after a night out with friends at World Bar, police said.
However, he allegedly drove to a nearby side street where he parked and sexually assaulted her.
According to police, Mr Naveed was captured on CCTV before the alleged assault buying water and condoms at an Edgecliff service station.
The woman, who said she was intoxicated, told police she was confused when Ms Naveed allegedly told her, “Hey baby I’ve got some condoms”, before asking her if she wanted to get in the back seat.
Believing this was because she was falling asleep, the woman instead awoke to find him allegedly assaulting her – something he continued to do despite her struggles, police said.
Police launched a full investigation after the woman reported the matter.
Mr Naveed was arrested at his Lakemba share house on Wednesday and charged with sexual intercourse without consent.
Mr Naveed, who has a wife and child in Pakistan, claims the sex was consensual.
His car has been seized for forensic analysis.
Mr Naveed was granted bail when he appeared in Burwood Local Court on Thursday morning.
However, he remains in custody as his $5000 bail surety has not been paid.
Mr Naveed, who is a permanent resident in Australia, must hand over his Pakistani passport.
He is next due to appear at the Downing Centre Court in December.
On Thursday evening, Uber said it was still checking whether the accused worked for the company. A spokesperson said police had not provided the company with the details it needed.
“Our thoughts remain with the victim and her family in this terrible situation,” he said.
“We will do everything we can to work with the police to help with their investigation.”
NSW Taxi Council chief executive Roy Wakelin-King would not comment on the case as it “needs to be dealt with through the courts and through the investigative process”.
However, Mr Wakelin-King said the council had long argued that unregulated ride-sharing services presented a risk to the public.
“History has clearly shown where you remove the regulations and the necessary checks and balances on taxi services, that you increase the risk to the public – as well as increasing risk to drivers – and standards generally fall,” Mr Wakelin-King said.
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