A WIRRAL taxi driver who indecently assaulted teenage girl passengers and kept two of them prisoner in his car has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the girls, aged 17 to 19, had been terrified during their early-morning ordeals in David Boyd's private hire taxi.

Jailing him, Judge Duncan said: "Parents are entitled to expect a taxi to bring their daughter home safely. That is why these offences are so serious." Judge Duncan ordered that Boyd, aged 25 and a cannabis user, register under the Sex Offenders' Act for life.

Boyd, of Linwood Road, Tranmere, was convicted after a trial of indecently assaulting three girls, falsely imprisoning one of them and falsely imprisoning a 19-year-old woman.

As he was led to the cells Boyd, who maintains his innocence, looked shocked and his girlfriend and mother, both crying, pleaded to talk to him.

During his trial, the court heard that the four incidents happened between February 1997 and last April while Boyd was taking girls home after late nights out. In the first two incidents he deliberately arranged it so that instead of dropping the victims' friends in the back seat off last, he took them first so that he was left with the girl in the front.

On the first incident he put his hand on the girl's thigh and asked her to come for a drive with him, which she refused.

In the next incident his victim was wearing a very short skirt and he put his hand on her thigh and invited her home. When they reached her Bromborough home, he pulled her towards him and kissed her before she managed to escape.

The next assault happened after picking up his fare in Argyle Street, Birkenhead. The 17-year-old wanted to go to New Brighton but he took her to an area behind Hot Shots Club in Bromborough.

After stopping, he told her to be calm. But when she tried to leap out on seeing a passing car, he prevented her from escaping, said Mr Andrew Loveridge, prosecuting.

She felt her chest tightening because of her asthma. He then made the indecent assaults and took her to New Brighton, stopping en route at Seacombe Ferry to smoke cannabis.

The final incident, which was his undoing because she reported him to police, involved a 19-year-old woman.

Boyd denied being responsible and claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.

When he was convicted last month, Judge Duncan expressed concern about the taxi licensing authority's checks as the third victim had complained to them, but when she did not wish to pursue it, no action was apparently taken. Judge Duncan said last week that he has been assured that the authority do make enquiries and involve police.

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