Taxi driver Satbir Arora is being hailed as a hero after saving a young girl from the hands of a paedophile who had been grooming her.
Earlier this year, 20 February, Mr Arora received a booking from the 13-year-old girl, who had requested to be taken from er Oxfordshire home to Gloucester train station - but on arrival, it emerged that nobody was there to meet her.
Fearing for the girl's safety, he attempted to establish whether her parents were aware of their daughter's whereabouts. Mr Arora also made sure to telephone the man his young passenger claimed to be meeting, recording the calls as he did so.
Credit: INS News
The quick-thinking cabbie also called his wife, who runs the taxi service alongside him. After explaining the situation, he passed the phone to the girl, who eventually admitted that her parents were unaware of her location.
Mrs Arora then called the police, with Mr Arora simultaneously explaining the situation to a nearby police officer.
Further investigation revealed that the girl had been groomed by 24-year-old Sam Hewings, who had used online chat software to discuss kidnapping, sedating and raping victims. Police have suggested that the girl may have experienced an 'unthinkable ordeal', but for the taxi driver's swift actions.
Gloucester crown court
Gloucester Crown Court. Credit: PA
"Satbir Arora was presented with a certificate for outstanding achievement in safeguarding, by Councillor Kieron Mallon, the lead member for public protection," said a spokesman for Cherwell District Council, discussing the driver's well-deserved award.
In fact, the recordings he made of his telephone conversation were later used as evidence in the trial against Hewings.
Gloucester train station
Gloucester train station. Credit: Google Street View
"I can't praise Mr Arora enough for his caring attitude," said Councillor Mallon, "and for recognising that his passenger was in grave danger.
"He saved his passenger from an unthinkable ordeal, and had the presence of mind to record his calls with the would-be kidnapper, providing crucial evidence to the prosecution service.
"He has clearly put his safeguarding training into action and I hope he displays his certificate in pride of place in his vehicle."
Hewings has since been given a five-year prison sentence for attempted abduction, as well as the distribution and making of indecent images.
Words: Mischa Pearlman
Featured Image Credit: INS