12 years for Brussels serial rapist that posed as a taxi driver

A man has been found guilty of 8 counts rape and sexual assault of of young women in Brussels. The serial rapist posed as a driver working for the Collecto service,  a subsidised taxi service that operates during the hours in which there is no standard public transport. The made first threatened and then sexually abused his victims in his car. 

He often picked his victims up near to university campuses or at the Flageyplein square in Elsene, an area popular with young people on a night out. He took advantage of their inebriated state to sexually assault and rape then. Many of his victims were students that believed that his car was a genuine taxi. However, once inside the vehicle they were threatened with a knife and sexually abused. The man’s final victim was even abducted and taken to his home where he brutally raped her several times.

In November of last year a 20-year-old student at Brussels’ Francophone Free University ULB wrote on her Facebook page that she had got into what she believed was a Collecto taxi at the university campus. The driver had taken her to his home and raped her several times. The Tournai (Hainaut) Judicial Authorities took on the case and they soon found what they believed to be a link with a series of rapes and sexual assaults in Brussels between 2016 and 2019.  

A suspect was detained shortly after and the Public Prosecutor’s office charged him with eight counts of rape and sexual assault.

At his trial the man that is in his forties admitted that he had had sex with his victims, but denied having threatened them with a knife. “Maybe they didn’t always give their consent, but I never used physical violence or theatened them. We had fun”.

Most of the victims were present at the trial.

The court sentenced the man to 12 years in prison with the option of him being kept in custody for a further 5 years if a custody court deems this necessary.  He must also pay the Brussels public transport company MIVB compensation for the damage to its reputation his actions have caused. 

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