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Would be rapist caught after giving his phone number to would-be victim

Mohammed Afzal
Mohammed Afzal

A man who posed as a taxi driver to pick up a woman he attempted to rape has been jailed after she handed his number to police - and they pretended to be her to arrange a meeting with him.

Mohammed Afzal, 23, of no fixed address, was driving around Bristol city centre in the early hours of April 14 when he stopped to pick up a 22-year-old woman.

She believed she was getting into a taxi but Afzal drove off to an unknown venue where he attempted to rape her, plying her with illegal drugs during the ordeal.

He dropped her at her home several hours later and gave the woman his phone number after she asked for it.

Later that day the woman reported the incident to Avon and Somerset Police, passing Afzal's number to them.

Officers messaged him posing as the woman and arranged to meet him - arresting him when he turned up and later charging him with attempted rape.

Afzal admitted the charge at Bristol Crown Court and was jailed for five years and four months, with an additional three-year extended licence.

Speaking after the sentencing, Acting Detective Sergeant Laura Miller said: "Afzal posed as a taxi driver and can be seen on CCTV footage driving around Bristol city centre looking for someone to target.

"He drove past the victim before turning his car around. He then parks nearby and runs towards the victim, leading her towards his vehicle.

"He drives her to an unknown location and attempts to rape her, plying her with illegal drugs including opiates and amphetamine during this horrific ordeal.

"The victim was dropped off at her home several hours later but crucially asked for his phone number, which he gave her.

"She reported the incident to police later the same day and we took the decision to message Afzal, posing as the victim and arranging to meet up.

"He attended this meeting and was arrested and later charged."

Afzal was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

Following the hearing the victim said: "People like him exist. You don't think it's going to happen to you.

"You're strong and you're fine, but it does happen and you can have your strength taken away from you."