A Queensland woman was sexually assaulted by a man posing as an Uber driver.
A Queensland woman was sexually assaulted by a man posing as an Uber driver.

Man posed as Uber driver to lure sex assault victim

A WOMAN who was sexually assaulted by a man posing as an Uber driver leapt out of the moving car to escape, spraining her ankle and tearing skin off her body.

Fake driver John Howard Waddell, 54, picked up the 26-year-old woman outside Caboolture train station and refused to let her out as he fondled her breast, forcing her to jump from the car.

Waddell appeared in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to sexual assault, deprivation of liberty as well as assaulting police officer, child grooming, possession and distribution of child exploitation material and insurance fraud.

The woman got off at Caboolture station and was waved over by Waddell.
The woman got off at Caboolture station and was waved over by Waddell.

 

The court heard that woman got off the train and went to order a rideshare about 9pm on September 11, 2018.

She was then waved down by Waddell, who was parked out the front of the station and who told her he was an Uber driver.

Prosecutor James Bishop said Waddell put the woman's address in his phone but as they drove he started to ask her about her sex life and when he got to her house, he kept driving despite her repeatedly telling him to stop.

After Waddell touched her on the breast while repeatedly saying "f--- you", the woman made the decision to jump from the moving car.

"As she took off her seatbelt, Waddell grabbed the back of her pants to attempt to stop her escaping," Mr Bishop said.

"She opened the door and jumped from the car, hitting her head and torso, causing a sprained ankle and her skin to be torn away from her left hip and torso area."

She fled to a nearby house for help.

When police tracked Waddell down, they discovered lewd images of young children and messages on his phone that revealed he had been attempting to groom two girls by asking them to send naked photographs of themselves.

When police tried to arrest him at his caravan in October, he bit the officer on the wrist.

In unrelated offending, Waddell was also found to have defrauded Swann Insurance by about $22,000 after concocting a story claiming his motorbike and trailer had been stolen.

Defence barrister Matt Jackson said Waddell had a "mild intellectual disability" and his client had told him that the child exploitation material was just as a result of Waddell "messing around" online.

Mr Jackson said Waddell planned to move away from the Caboolture area and start afresh in Gayndah, inland of Hervey Bay, where his sister lives.

Chief Judge Kerry O'Brien said sentencing Waddell was a difficult task because of the "diverse nature" of the offending and because he had already served 17 months in jail.

While the court had no victim impact statement from the sexual assault victim, Judge O'Brien agreed it would have been a terrifying ordeal.

"It must have been a very frightening experience for that young lady," he said.

Waddell was sentenced to four years' jail with immediate parole. - NewsRegional


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