A DERRY mother has claimed she feared for her life when she was subjected to what she described as a terrifying rape ordeal at the hands of a man posing as a taxi driver in the city in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Twenty-two years-old Laura Nixon, who has waived her right to anonymity, alleges her ordeal began as she made her way home from a night out with family and friends just after midnight.
“I came out of the City Hotel with friends and we waved a taxi down. I just wanted to get home but my friends decided to go onto Earth nightclub. He left them off and then he was to take me home to my house in Galliagh.”
Laura, whose youngest child is just four months old, said she knew something was up as soon as the driver drove past the Ballyarnett Roundabout. “At first I thought maybe the driver knew my family and was taking me to my da’s house at Cornshells but when he drove on I asked him where he going.
“He didn’t answer and then I noticed the car doors were locked. I thought he was going to kill me. I thought I would never seen my wains again. That was all I could think.”
Laura claimed the driver pulled into a layby close to the Donegal border where he subjected her to a brutal rape. He then climbed back into the driver’s seat and drove her home.
“At the time, I couldn’t think straight. I was grateful, I suppose, that he was taking me home. It meant he wasn’t going to kill me. I just wanted to get home.”
Now, however, Laura says she is living in fear - aware that her attacker knows her home address. “I am afraid to go outside. I’m afraid to do anything. I even have to have someone go to the toilet with me,” she said.
“If he knows where I live, there is a chance he could come back.”
Laura said she wanted to speak out about her ordeal to warn other local women about getting into taxis without checking they are properly registered.
“The car we got into, it had a sign on the top - one of those old smaller signs. We didn’t even notice it didn’t have proper taxi plates. I only noticed that after when I went to look for them when he dropped me home.
“Thinking back on it, there was no radio in the car, but he looked genuine when we flagged him down so we just got in.”
Laura’s father Philip Nixon said the incident has left the whole family “absolutely heartbroken”.
“We just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. If he has done this once, there is a chance he could do it again. If this stops someone getting into the back of his car, then that is a good thing.
“I’m just devastated. We all are. I haven’t slept or eaten anything. I can’t stop thinking about it and thinking about what he did.”
Laura has described her attacker as being tall, of stocky build and with his hair shaved into a tight crop. He was in his late 30s or early 40s and was driving a dark coloured car.
Police are investigating reports of a serious sexual assault in the Ballyarnett area of Derry in the early hours of Sunday 10th April.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000. Information can also be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.