Court told how taxi driver was 'obsessed with sex'
A 'SEX-OBSESSED' taxi driver raped a woman passenger, molested four others and secretly filmed couples in the back of his black cab, a court has heard.
Malcolm Robert Curtis, 48, of Flamstead Crescent, Kings Tamerton, denies two charges of rape, one of attempted rape, one of indecent assault, three of sexual assault and three of voyeurism.
Curtis stood impassively as the charges were read out to the jury of seven men and five women at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday. His wife Kim, also a former taxi driver, sat at the back of the court for parts of the hearing.
Prosecuting, Llewellyn Sellick said two different taxis were involved in the alleged offences, which he said stretched back to October 2003.
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The first was a unique 'disco cab' – a black Hackney carriage fitted with a disco-style sound system and flashing lights, which had the name 'Turnbulls' on the side and the distinctive registration 498 SHY. The other was a standard black cab, fitted with a hidden infra-red camera with a recording facility, the court heard.
Mr Sellick, who told the court Curtis was "a man obsessed with sex", described how the first victim was assaulted by Curtis on October 8, 2003, after they had dropped her girlfriend home and gone on to Devonport.
As she went to get out of the taxi, Curtis asked her: "Have you had a boob job?" She replied 'No', but it is alleged he then kissed her, pushed his hand up her top, groped her breast and then pushed his hand up her skirt and touched her bottom.
He then suggested they go for a drive somewhere, but she again said 'No' and ran off.
Curtis told police the woman had propositioned him, shown him her breasts and threatened to cry rape if she didn't kiss him, the court was told.
Mr Sellick said on May 21, 2005, Curtis took four students to their hall of residence in Mutley. It is alleged he locked them in his cab, groped one girl's breast and put his hand up the skirt of another.
Curtis claimed the girls had offered to commit sex acts in exchange for a free ride, and one had stripped naked in the taxi.
In July 2005, Curtis again asked a lone female passenger if she had had 'a boob job' before groping her, asking for a kiss and suggesting they go somewhere, the court heard.
Curtis claimed the girl offered him sex to get back at her boyfriend, from whom she had just split up, and when he declined threatened to cry rape. The court also heard Curtis told police that women were worse than men and often offered sexual favours in lieu of their fare.
Mr Sellick said on November 5 last year Curtis had taken a lone female passenger from Torpoint to Pennycomequick, where he had raped her in the car park of a social club.
Curtis claimed the woman had stripped off and demanded sex, but he handed her clothes back and told her to get dressed.
His DNA had been found on the woman's underwear, and Curtis said this was the residue of earlier having had sex with his wife.
Medical evidence proved his account to be untrue, the court heard.
The jury was also shown three excerpts from secret films showing amorous couples in the back of Curtis' second taxi.
Mr Sellick said the fact Curtis had filmed them without their knowledge or consent and then kept the recordings for his own sexual pleasure was voyeurism.
The first alleged assault victim, who is now aged 24 and cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence from behind a screen and described how she was 'tipsy, not drunk' when Curtis took her back to her mother's house in Devonport in October 2003.
He asked her for a kiss and, when she refused, he pulled her to him by the wrists, pressed her back against his cab and forcefully kissed her, pushing his tongue into her mouth.
He then put his hands up her top and skirt and molested her, the court heard.
The woman told the jury: "I felt scared, disgusted, frightened, powerless. He said he wanted to go for a drive."
The woman said Curtis was much bigger than she was, and she was afraid that he intended to rape her.
"I was scared; I just froze in shock," she said.
"He was a large guy – he was scary and intimidating."
Nick Lewin, for Curtis, suggested the woman had taken part in a consensual act which she immediately regretted, and was worried about what her boyfriend might say.
The woman replied firmly: "No," adding: "A 19 year-old and an old man? I don't think so."
The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.
Rape victim of Malcolm Curtis talks to The Herald