Edinburgh private hire car driver ‘attacked women’

Ihsan Yurbas has denied the charges against him at Livingston Sheriff Court.
Ihsan Yurbas has denied the charges against him at Livingston Sheriff Court.

A WOMAN has told a court that she tried to jump out of a private hire when the driver sexually assaulted her.

The passenger – a 24-year-old mum of two – said Ihsan Yurbas repeatedly touched her leg and shoulder as he drove her home.

She was one of two women who gave evidence yesterday about being sexually assaulted by 41-year-old Yurbas.

She told Livingston ­Sheriff Court that the Turkish ­national first touched her on the shoulder a couple of times as he took her from Edinburgh to Broxburn in the early hours of the morning in 2015.

She said: “To him it was like he was reassuring me but I didn’t think it was reassuring me. I would have been 22 at the time. He was in his 40s. I felt uncomfortable. I kind of froze. At that point I couldn’t even give him eye contact.

“When he was changing the gears and I was still crying upset, he touched my knee with his hand and told me: ‘Don’t worry. It’ll be OK’.”

She said Yurbas then grabbed her before she tried to open the door and escape.

She added: “As I turned, he turned and he grabbed my two legs to pull me back. He’s grabbed my tights. I had holes in my tights, but I didn’t even notice any of that until later 
on.

“I was scared. I just wanted to get out of the car.

“I still had the seatbelt on and the car was going but I just thought I’d try.”

She said she finally managed to get out of the car outside the Masonic Arms pub in Broxburn but realised immediately she’d left her mobile phone on the front seat.

She tried to get it back and struggled with Yurbas, biting him on the fingers to try and break his grip but ultimately failing to retrieve it.

She said: “I contacted the police the next again day. I was unsure whether to phone the police because he never kissed me. He never sexually did anything to me.

“Then I thought my daughter might be in a taxi with a person like that. I wanted to do anything to prevent that. I wouldn’t accept anyone touching my daughter like that. I wouldn’t be allowing that.”

A 22-year-old female sales executive now living in London then told the court that she encountered Yurbas during a weekend out in Edinburgh in 2013 when she was aged 18.

She claimed he repeatedly leaned over and touched her “from my thigh up to my waist” as he drove her home alone.

She later phoned the mobile number Yurbas had given her on an earlier taxi ride to lure him back to a house and took his licence plate number to pass on to police.

Yurbas, of Polton Road, Loanhead, is charged with sexually assaulting both of the female passengers in the course of his employment as a private hire driver.

He is also charged with stealing a mobile phone at Easter Road, Broxburn, during the second incident. Neither of the alleged victims can be named for legal reasons.

Yurbas denies all the charges against him.

*An earlier version of this article described the vehicle as a taxi, however,it has been communicated to us that the cars involved were private hire vehicles.*