A shameless barber who pretended to be a taxi driver to kidnap a woman on her way home from a night out has been jailed.
Isaac Mabwa, 33, falsely imprisoned the woman with the intention of sexually assaulting her, a court heard.
But he was stopped before he could do so by a brave have-a-go-hero who heard the woman’s screams from an unlit car park.
READ MORE: Shameless Ealing man kidnapped woman and drove her around London for 90 minutes
Mabwa, of Melville Avenue, Ealing, was convicted by a jury of kidnap, false imprisonment and false imprisonment with intent to commit a sexual offence earlier this year and was jailed for nine years today.
Wood Green Crown Court, sitting at Hendon Magistrates’ Court, heard Mabwa picked up the woman in a hire car as she made her way home from a night out in Central London back in May 2017.
She realised he was not a real taxi driver when he started driving in the wrong direction to her home and raised the alarm with friends by sending them her location.
At one point, Mabwa stopped the car to take cocaine, the court heard, but accelerated when she tried to escape.
Mabwa ignored the woman’s pleas to take her home and, after an hour-and-a-half, pulled into a remote car park in west London.
The woman sounded the horn and screamed as she tried to fight him off.
She was overheard by a passerby who ran over shouting at Mabwa.
He sped off and the man took a note of the registration plate, which he was able to give to police officers who quickly apprehended the driver.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said: “It is really hard for me to express how I feel. At first I thought time would help me deal with this incident since I consider myself psychologically strong.
“Since this happened I began to sleep badly. I cannot sleep for more than four hours at a time.
“I used to ask my friends not to leave me alone at any time. Sometimes it’s days until I force myself to go out.
“I have to put music on my headphones to go to and from the street. I feel my legs shaking when I am alone and my breathing becomes accelerated just thinking someone could be looking at me.
“I have stopped working. I only go out when I run out of food. I spend most of my time alone at home where I feel calm and safe.
“I no longer like to be touched and I have become unloving.
“Some days I feel I’m worthless and difficult to love like that. The problem is not getting any better. On the contrary it’s getting worse by the day and I do not want to continue like this. I want to be happy, positive, smile and live a beautiful life.”
The court heard that Mabwa, who set up his own “successful” barbershop while on bail awaiting trial, had rum, condoms and baby oil in the car when he was arrested.
Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinion from across the city?
MyLondon’s brilliant newsletter The 12 is absolutely jam packed with all the latest to keep you keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.
You’ll get 12 stories straight to your inbox at around 12pm. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
And what’s more – it’s FREE!
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets, so you’ll never miss a moment.
Don’t skip a beat and sign up to The 12 newsletter here.
At the trial, Mabwa insisted the pair were on a “consensual joy ride” and the victim had been aggressive to him when he refused to take her home.
Paul Walker, defending, said Mabwa had turned to drink after the breakdown of a relationship with his child’s mother.
He said: “It seems 2017 was a particularly difficult year for him, if that was a catalyst for these offences for him, perhaps it was.
“The drinking it seems, which the author of the pre-sentence report points to, being linked to the offence and after the breakdown of the relationship with his partner.
“That may be partly linked to what happened in this extremely unfortunate and unpleasant matter where a young woman was subjected to the circumstances that we know about.”
Recorder Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC said: “You picked her up in your car and led her to believe you were a taxi driver. You said you would drive her to her home when she gave her address about 20 minutes away to the north-east.
“Instead you drove her in the opposite direction and for nearly two hours going towards your home in Greenford and a part of London you know well.
“As she tried to contain her panic and get out of the car, you accelerated to prevent her from doing so. She texted for help and gave her location to her boyfriend and another friend.
“You were driving round and stopped at one stage to take cocaine. You had baby oil and condoms with you and you ignored her distress and would not let her go.”
The judge said that, after Mabwa’s arrest, the victim’s belongings were found in his car and on the ground where the struggle had taken place.
She added: “She was bruised and had injuries to her arms, knees and legs.”
The judge recommended that the member of the public who came to the woman’s aid in the car park receive a High Sheriff Award for his “great public spiritedness”.
Mabwa will serve two-thirds of his sentence before he is eligible for release.
Want more from MyLondon? Sign up to our daily newsletters for all the latest and greatest from across London here.