July 2023

Fake Brighton taxi driver given 23-year sentence for attempted rape and sexual assault

Pevensey man Graham Head has been given a 23-year sentence for attempting to rape and sexually assault two women while posing as a taxi driver in Brighton.

Head, 66, of Coast Road in Pevensey, prowled the streets of Sussex in his silver Mercedes estate searching for vulnerable women.

At Hove Crown Court on Monday (24 July) he was jailed for 18 years, with an additional five years to be spent on extended licence. He was told he must serve at least two thirds of that sentence before being eligible for parole.

Head was arrested on 18 November, 2022, after a woman in her 20s reported waking up in a vehicle, which she believed to be a taxi, to find a man sexually assaulting her.

She had earlier got into what she thought was a taxi taking her from Brighton to Hove.

She managed to escape, called police at around 3.10am and was able to remember three digits of the car’s registration plate.

Within minutes, officers located the vehicle – a silver Mercedes estate – and stopped it in Preston Circus following a short pursuit. Head was arrested at the scene.

He was linked to an ongoing investigation from 19 August, 2022, when a woman in her late teens reported a man dragging her into bushes in Hove Park. She had earlier received a lift from him from Brighton to Hove Park.

He attempted to rape her, but fled the scene when the victim’s mobile phone rang.

CCTV footage from that investigation showed the victim approaching a silver Mercedes estate, which was then tracked through city centre CCTV and doorbell footage driving slowly along the road near Hove Park.

After he was arrested in November, 2022, his internet search history was found to include phrases such as ‘if a mobile phone is switched off can it still be traced’ and multiple searches around nightclub opening times in Brighton, East Sussex and Surrey, as well as information on Brighton student nights.

Inside his car were latex gloves, condoms, Viagra tablets and a balaclava. His mobile phone had been placed on flight mode.

At Hove Crown Court on Friday, 2 June, Head was found guilty of kidnap, attempted rape and assault by penetration and remanded in custody.

At the same court for sentencing, Judge Jeremy Gold described Head as a ‘sexual predator’ who posed a ‘present and dangerous risk’ to women.

Judge Gold also commended the quick-thinking and determination of Head’s second victim for alerting police, leading to his arrest.