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‘Had his penis out’: Adelaide woman’s horror Uber trip

Written by on May 15, 2024

A “creepy” Adelaide Uber driver who masturbated in front of a terrified female passenger while driving her home from the CBD has escaped jail time over the incident.

Tayla Pimlott, 26, recounted her horrific experience to Yahoo News on Monday, describing how she found herself “holding back tears” and fearing she would be raped on what was supposed to be a “quick and quiet” journey home during rush hour.

Ms Pimlott was taking a short 20-minute trip home to Campbelltown last October when something caught her eye in the front seat, causing her to look up from her phone — only to realise the driver was masturbating behind the wheel.

“Usually, when someone takes their pants down, they ruffle down a bit or something,” she said. “I saw none of that, I just saw this subtle hand gesture. I could see clearly that he [the Uber driver] had his penis out, and he was masturbating.”

Her mind racing, Ms Pimlott said she considered calling police, screaming at the driver, or even attempting to get out of the moving vehicle.

She immediately contacted her mum and boyfriend to tell them what was happening and managed to capture footage of the man to use as evidence for the police.

“There was a part of me that thought, ‘Oh God, I could die, I could be raped, this man could touch me,’” she told Yahoo News. “My brain was frozen and my heart was pounding … I was petrified.”

A text to her mum read, “Mum. I’m about 10 minutes away from home I need you to [wait] outside for me. I’m in an Uber and this man has his penis out.”

Ms Pimlott said she decided her best option was to pretend she hadn’t noticed, out of fear the driver might lash out if she confronted him.

When she arrived home, to her mum waiting outside, she had to ask him to unlock the doors.

“He fully turned around and looked at me and in the most creepiest voice I’ve ever heard he goes, ‘Thank you so much,’” she said.

Ms Pimlott replied in horror, “You’re welcome.”

“I felt if I made a huge fuss about this I think that would put me in more danger … I had to be polite … I felt ashamed,” she told Yahoo News.

Ms Pimlott said she was speaking out about her experience now in the context of the broader national crisis of violence against women.

She reported the incident to the police and Uber, requesting Uber ban him from the platform and that she be kept informed — but was told “we are unable to provide you details of the outcome as we have a strict Privacy Notice which prevents us from sharing account holder information without permission”.

However, Uber said in a statement that the man had been permanently removed.

“What’s been reported has no place in the Uber community or anywhere else,” an Uber spokeswoman said.

“As soon as we were notified of this report, we removed the driver partner’s access to the app immediately and permanently. We continue to work to build cutting-edge technology and features to help improve safety for riders and driver-partners on the app, such as the Safety Toolkit, the emergency assistance button and Share my Trip feature. Trips on the Uber platform are not anonymous and all trips are GPS tracked in real time.”

Court records show SA Police arrested and charged Rahman Fazeli, 29, with indecent behaviour, “namely in an Uber vehicle so as to offend or insult another person”, on October 1.

The Craigmore man appeared before Adelaide Magistrates Court in March where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment, can reveal.

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The sentence was fully suspended by Magistrate John Wells, with Fazeli entering into a $500, 18-month good behaviour bond.

Ms Pimlott told Yahoo News the man had been “banned” from visiting her home or work, but she was still deeply affected by the incident.

“I thought I was OK,” she said. “But then I realised like, ‘Oh, hey, I can’t really leave my house without being petrified.’ I’m never using Uber again.”

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