An Uber driver groomed a 14 year-old schoolgirl for sex after picking-up the tipsy teenager from her friend’s house one night, a court heard yesterday.
Spyros Ntounis, 35, of Luminosity Court, Drayton Green Road, West Ealing, complimented the youngster on her looks and messaged her repeatedly, urging they meet up, the jury were told.
“He was saying that I was hot and I had nice lips,” she told Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court. “I thought he was being nice, but then I thought it was a bit odd.
“As he got close to my house he started driving slowly because he said he wanted to spend more time with me, which I thought was odd.”
Prosecutor Mr. Allister Walker said: “At the time of the offence the defendant was a mini-cab driver working for Uber who collected the complainant from her friend’s address at 9.30pm.
“During the short journey he made inappropriate comments and obtained her phone number and over the next few days he sent her messages, asking her to meet him.
“The prosecution say this was for some kind of sexual activity.”
GPS tracking proves Ntounis slowed his car to a crawl of 5mph as the journey concluded and he admitted to police this was to extend his time with the teen.
“She had drunk some rum and coke with her fiends and says on a scale of drunkenness she was ‘five or six’ out of ten.”
Her 15 year-old boyfriend had seen her off on the cab ride from Barnes to Kingston-upon-Thames and her middle-class parents confiscated her phone because she exceeded her curfew.
“The driver, this defendant, asked her how old she was and how old her boyfriend was and she told him she was fourteen.
“He put the internal light on and looked at her via the rear-view mirror and told her she was ‘hot’ and had ‘nice lips’ and gave her chewing gum.
“He told her to text him her name and during the journey the complainant sent a message to her friend, indicating her discomfort.”
Balding Ntounis knocked nearly a decade off his age, claiming to be only twenty-six, the jury heard and over the next few days sent WhatsApp message to her.
“He said: ‘I can give you lessons in whatever you want’ and: ‘When are you out next time.’
“He asked: ‘Do I pass the age test?’ and: ‘I would love it.’
“The complainant blocked him on WhatsApp and told her mother, but the defendant then began sending ordinary phone texts.
“He wrote: ‘We can be friends and I can help you if you want with a taxi. I can give you a free ride sometime.”
Ntounis handed himself into Islington Police Station a month later and told officers he recalled little of the journey.
“He now admits the texts, saying there were innocent motives and he wanted to support her,” added Mr. Walker.
“However, the prosecution say he took advantage of his position with her and the motive was to have sexual contact.
“His intention was to meet her later for sex.”
The girl added: “The next day I had a text from him and he started asking to meet up with me and I got a bit concerned so I blocked him.
“He was sending me quite a few texts, one after the other and he told me he was twenty-six and I told him I was a bit young.”
Ntounis has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming between April 21 and 25, last year.