A WOMAN who says she was sexually abused by a taxi driver as a teenager has told a court she was “scared of him for a long time”.
Darren Hyett (54), of Broom Chase, Rotherham, is alleged to have sexually abused the girl when she was living at St Edmund’s Care Home, Thurcroft, as a teenager.
He had been working for A1 Taxis when he allegedly befriended the girl and gave her gifts, money, drink and drugs, Sheffield Crown Court was told.
Hyett denies five counts of rape, three counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity with a child, and perverting the course of justice.
He was aged between 40 and 44 when the alleged offences took place, between 2004 and 2007. The complainant was aged between 15 and 18.
Under cross-examination yesterday (Wednesday), the woman, who is now in her late twenties, denied a suggestion by defence counsel Mr Matthew Buckland that she had only been to Hyett’s house once, after her 16th birthday.
“It was a single occasion where you had gone to his flat and things had progressed and you were in bed naked,” Mr Buckland said.
“There was no further sexual activity than that.”
The woman said the claim was incorrect.
“He wasn’t my boyfriend - he was my abuser,” she told the court.
“I was scared of Darren for a long time.”
Ms Diane Wellings, who was a residential care worker at St Edmund’s Care Home, said she believed the girl had been having a sexual relationship with Hyett.
She said she had seen the girl going out and getting into Hyett’s taxi and the girl had once pointed out where Hyett lived during a bus journey they had shared together.
Ms Wellings read to the jury dozens of notes made by staff at St Edmund’s which documented the girl’s contact with Hyett — over the phone and in person.
Ms Wellings told the court: “It wasn’t appropriate (their relationship) and I was angry in a professional sense.
“I was angry with Darren Hyett mainly and angry with the girl to some extent.”
Staff at the care home began to monitor the girl’s calls as a result of their suspicions, Ms Wellings said.
Ms Wellings read out a note, written by a senior staff member at the care home, which revealed the senior worker had contacted A1 Taxis to raise concerns about Hyett’s contact with the girl.
“The A1 manager said he would be reminding drivers not to drive children who were unescorted or they would be putting their jobs at risk,” Ms Wellings, quoting the note, told the court.
Prosecutor Mr Matthew Bean told the court on Tuesday that after meeting the girl in a taxi, Hyett began to exchange messages with her before meeting her regularly.
“He began to give her gifts, money, and, over time, drink and drugs,” said Mr Bean.
“This was done, the prosecution say, in order to gain control over (the girl) so he could engage in sexual activities with her.
“Against this background, the prosecution say he committed a number of serious sexual offences against her.”
He told the court that Hyett must have known she was staying at St Edmund’s and that the home cared for people who needed the support of the local authority.
The trial is part of the National Crime Agency’s investigation into non-familial child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, dubbed Operation Stovewood.
The trial continues.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.