Sex accused Shakil Munir 'thought girl was 16'

A taxi driver accused of having sex with a schoolgirl in a lay-by has told a court nothing happened in his car and insisted he thought she was 16.

Shakil Munir, 32, from Middlesbrough, denied having sex with the 14-year-old in the parking spot after exchanging explicit messages on Facebook.

Mr Munir said he was going through a "bad patch" at the time.

He and three others from the town deny sexual exploitation charges at Teesside Crown Court.

The prosecution said the girl had asked Mr Munir to pick her up and take her to a garage so she could buy cigarettes.

Text from mother

Instead, the court heard on Monday, he stopped on the A19 and got her to perform a sex act before they had full intercourse.

Asked by his barrister Ekwall Tiwana why he got involved in the online conversations, Mr Munir said: "To be honest with you, I was going through a bad patch and I was bored and I just started chatting."

Mr Munir explained that they had been talking in the taxi but denied having sex.

That night, with the girl still in his car, Mr Munir received a text from her mother, telling him to bring her home immediately or she would call the police.

It was only when the mother said her daughter was 14 that he realised her age, he said.

"I thought she was 16," he told the jury.

Mr Munir, of Tollesby Road, denies child abduction and five counts of having sex with a child.

His co-accused, 18 year-olds Junaid Butt and Ibrar Mahmood, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, also deny all the charges against them.

The trial continues.

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