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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Punjab Abroad- USA

Sikh cab driver in US found guilty of raping, kidnapping woman
PTI
New York, May 03, 2014
First Published: 13:38 IST(3/5/2014)
Last Updated: 13:50 IST(3/5/2014)

A Sikh cab driver in the US has been found guilty by a jury here of raping and kidnapping a 29-year-old woman and faces up to 25 years in prison for the 2011 assault.

Gurmeet Singh, 42, will be sentenced on May 12 after the jurors at his trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday found him guilty of raping and kidnapping.

The jurors cleared him of the charges of robbery and assault as well as the on the count of predatory sexual assault.

The victim, a non-profit employee, recounted in court her trauma of being held at knife point during the 2011 assault.

She testified at the trial that she hailed Singh's cab after a late night party in May 2011.

She said she had fallen asleep in the car but woke up to find Singh on top of her, threatening her with a knife.

"Bound, gagged, blindfolded with a knife to her throat," prosecutor Linda Weinman said in her closing arguments.

"(She) woke up to her worst nightmare," Weinman said.

The victim suffered cuts and a busted lip and her cell phone and USD 20 were missing, a report in the New York Daily News said.

"I thought I'm going to get killed," the victim recounted fighting tears.

She described how a "foul-smelling" Singh tied her hands with a scarf, stuffed her mouth with paper towels, blindfolded her eyes with a sleep mask and then raped her.

Singh denied raping the woman as he took the stand in his trial.

He said the woman refused to leave his cab and stayed in the taxi as he drove back to return it.

The woman then got into his private SUV and "seduced him into having sex," he said adding that she demanded money from him.

"I didn't force her to do anything," he said.

Singh's testimony allowed Weinman to grill him about an incident in September 2011 that ultimately led to his capture.

In that case, Singh was accused of molesting a drunk woman in Harlem.

The September 2011 case revived the Brooklyn case, which had dead-ended after an initial investigation.


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