Rapist who posed as taxi driver jailed for 19 years

Rapist Who Posed As Taxi Driver Jailed For 19 Years
A man who “brutally” sexually assaulted a woman who got into his car thinking it was a taxi has been handed a 19-year prison sentence.
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Fiona Ferguson and Eimear Dodd

A man who “brutally” sexually assaulted a woman who got into his car thinking it was a taxi has been handed a 19-year prison sentence.

Liviu Tenea, who was working for a takeaway, drove the woman to a dark isolated location before attacking her. The court heard Tenea was handed a 20-year sentence in Spain in 2006 for a similar sexual assault, but was repatriated to Romania in 2010 and was released in 2015. He later came to Ireland to work.


Tenea (40) of Academy Square, Navan Co Meath, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault of the woman at a location in Leinster on March 20th, 2022.

Prosecuting counsel said that the victim wishes to maintain her anonymity, but has no difficulty with Tenea being named.

Imposing sentence on Monday, Justice Mary Ellen Ring said the “brutal” sexual assaults carried out by Tenea on the woman in an isolated area after she got into what she believed to be a taxi was “every woman's nightmare”.

She said Tenea then left the scene, leaving the victim to find assistance herself.


Ms Justice Ring said the woman had “done nothing wrong” and “did what many women around the country do every night - trust what they believe to be a legitimate taxi will deliver them home safe”.

She said it was an aggravating factor that Tenea has a previous conviction for sexual assault, noting that a 20-year sentence “signifies a serious crime”.

She noted Tenea's guilty plea, but said she “can't overlook” his initial attempts to blame the victim by telling gardai that she had propositioned him.

Shie imposed a sentence of 19 years, backdated to the date he entered custody on March 29th, 2022. She also ordered Tenea to undergo 10 years of post-release supervision.



A prosecuting garda gave evidence that the complainant was on her way home from a night out and was attempting to hail a taxi. When a car pulled up, she assumed with relief it was a taxi and got in.

She became aware the car was going in the wrong direction and said it to the driver, who told her he was going to take her home. The woman said she froze as she began to realise she was “in trouble".

The car drove to a secluded location and Tenea got out of the car. He pulled her from the passenger seat as she pleaded with him: “Please don’t do this.” He then threw her onto the bonnet of the car and penetrated her with his penis vaginally and anally.

The woman said he was very rough and violent, and she could not fight back as she was pinned against the bonnet. She described screaming with the pain, crying and being unable to stop what was happening.


Tenea then got back in the car and drove off, leaving her at the scene. The woman was found by an actual taxi driver passing through the area. She was brought home and later attended at the garda station.

CCTV footage

Gardaí began an investigation by harvesting a large amount of CCTV footage. They were able to locate the woman leaving a bar at about 1am in the morning visibly unsteady on her feet and the accused man’s vehicle across the road.

They tracked the movements of the woman and the accused over the next 20 minutes and saw Tenea circling the town in his car, driving past the woman numerous times. It was evident from the CCTV that he was focused in on the injured party before he finally picked her up, the court heard.

Gardaí were able to capture the registration of the car and identified Tenea, who worked for a takeaway.


The woman attended at a sexual assault treatment unit where bruising consistent with the description of the attack was noted. Samples of semen taken from her were a match for Tenea.

Tenea was arrested and said he had encountered the woman at traffic lights. He said she asked him for a lift home and went on to claim she propositioned him. He denied penetrative intercourse.

The court heard Tenea has been resident here for a small number of years and is believed to have entered the country via Northern Ireland. He has been in custody since his arrest in March 2022.

He has one previous conviction in Spain for sexual assault of a minor for which he received a 20-year sentence.

The gardaí told the court his prior conviction which occurred in 2006 had a similar modus operandi in that the victim was approached, knocked unconscious and raped in an isolated place.

He was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment and was transferred to Romania in 2010 to complete the sentence. Defence counsel told the court he was released by Romanian authorities in 2015.

Victim impact statement

In her victim impact statement, the woman said she had been a person with joy in her heart but the “horrific violent sexual assault” had put fear into her that she did not believe would leave her.

She described how she had been looking for a taxi and jumped in with relief when the accused pulled up. “You disguised yourself as someone who would take me home safe but had other unimaginable plans,” she said.

She said she had shaken with fear, her mind racing as the car swung towards a dark and isolated place. “The events of that horrific night have shaken me to the core,” she said.

She said she feared the man would kill her.

She described the physical effects she had been left with and said she is broken and afraid, living in constant fear.

The court heard that Tenea is a Romanian national and left school at 16. He worked as a labourer and completed compulsory military service, after which he moved to Spain.

After his release from prison in 2015, he later went to live and work in the United Kingdom before he moved to Ireland. His partner and two children came to Ireland in late 2021.

Ms Justice Ring said she took into consideration a letter of apology from Tenea and a letter from his partner.

Setting a headline sentence of 22 years on each count, Ms Justice Ring noted the other mitigating factors include Tenea's guilty plea, his willingness to engage with treatment programmes, that he is assessed at low to medium risk of reoffending and that time in custody can be more difficult for foreign nationals.

She also expressed the court's hopes that the woman would continue with her recovery and wished her well for the future.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/ or visit Rape Crisis Help.

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