East Lothian taxi driver found guilty of assaulting two teenage men in back of cab

A taxi driver who preyed on two “very drunk” teenagers in the back of his cab is facing a jail sentence.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 5:26 pm
Updated Monday, 4th October 2021, 6:35 pm
John Simpson left one 18-year-old man with cuts.

An 18-year-old man was left with cuts after waking up to find the driver performing a sex act on him.

The victim managed to fight off the sex attack and fled the taxi, which had stopped off at a deserted business park in Edinburgh.

Simpson, 63, then drove a second drunk 18-year-old victim to a deserted back street in East Lothian and told him he would perform a sex act in return for the £36 fare.

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Simpson then jumped into the back of the cab and forced himself on the “terrified” man during the 2am assault in April 2019.

The victim managed to fight Simpson off before he told a passing bus driver about the attack and the police were called.

Simpson denied the allegations, but was found guilty of both sex assaults by a jury following a four-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week.

He was also found guilty of a further charge of making sexual comments to a third male victim in the course of a taxi journey in May 2019.

The court heard from the first victim, now 24, who described how he woke up to find Simpson performing a sex act on him in the back of the cab.

The man told the jury he was forced to fight the driver off, which resulted in Simpson sustaining serious injuries during the incident in July 2015.

The second victim said he had been picked up by Simpson’s taxi after a drunken night out with pals in Portobello, Edinburgh, on April 29, 2019.

The man, now 20, told the jury Simpson had made sexual comments to him during the journey before pulling into a deserted street in Cockenzie, East Lothian.

The victim said the driver asked him “if he liked laddies”, which he said had “repulsed” him.

The man said the taxi driver “jumped into the back and said he would perform [a sex act] on me as payment”.

The man added: “At first I just brushed it off as I didn’t think it was serious. He came into the back [of the taxi].”

The terrified teenager then said: “I just let him do what he wanted to do – I just let it happen.

“I just sat there as I was really scared.

“I was just 18 at the time and very drunk and on my own. I didn't know what else I could have done.”

The victim said around 20 seconds later he then punched and head butted the attacker and managed to flee the taxi.

The man said he now suffers from “nightmares” due to the attack and was “struggling with my nerves”.

Simpson, from Prestonpans, East Lothian, told the jury it was he who had been attacked by the first victim in 2015 and believed he was “going to be murdered” after the man had fought back.

The jury took just two hours to convict Simpson of the two sex assaults and the further charge of making sexual comments to a third man.

Following the verdict, Sheriff Alistair Noble said: “You have been convicted of extremely serious offences and all options will be open to the court.”

The sheriff placed Simpson on the Sex Offenders Register and deferred full sentence to next month.

Simpson was found guilty of sexually assaulting a man at Lochside Avenue, Edinburgh, on July 18, 2015.

He was also found guilty of making sexual comments and sexually assaulting a second man in Cockenzie, East Lothian, on April. 29, 2019.

The taxi driver was also found to have made sexual comments to a third man during the course of a taxi journey in Edinburgh on May 1, 2019.