Rape victim speaks out as Met Police relaunch Ask for Angela scheme

Kaysar Ahmed, 41-year-old from Poplar who was jaile last year for rape

Kaysar Ahmed, 41-year-old from Poplar who was jailed in 2020 for rape - Credit: Met Police

A woman who was raped by a taxi driver from Poplar on her way home from a night out has spoken out for the first time in a bid to encourage other victims to go to the police.

She reveals her ordeal at the hands of her attacker from east London — now behind bars — in the week the Met Police has relaunched its Ask for Angela scheme.

This is a coded safety initiative where women feeling vulnerable can discreetly get help at 400 licensed venues across London.

The woman who is speaking out was raped in 2019 by a private-hire taxi driver from Poplar who preyed on her vulnerability while making her way home from a night out with friends.

Kaysar Ahmed, a 41-year-old from Dolphin Lane off Poplar High Street, was jailed for nine years on March 11, 2020 after being found guilty at his trial at Inner London Crown Court.

His victim had booked a car home and made her way to a taxi rank, where she got into a vehicle believing it to be her pre-booked car.

Ahmed was at the wheel — but this was not the booked vehicle.

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He took her to an address before raping her.

His mobile phone data later placed him in the vicinity at the time and he was arrested.

Now almost two years on, his victim wants to encourage others to come forward and report attacks to the police.

“I can’t describe the relief that jail sentencing brought me," she said. "It has given me some form of closure, not that it undoes what happened or because I don’t ever have to talk about it again, but because it means the wait is over.

"You live your life with the court looming over you until the sentencing, like a massive black cloud that no one else can see or understand."

She is appealing directly to victims to seek help from the police.

"If something like this has happened then I am so sorry because it is not an easy road to recovery," she explains. "But I promise you it's not impossible and you will get there over time.

"Please speak about it, even if the police are not your first point of call — tell your mum, your sibling, your friend, someone at work, anyone you trust.

"It's easy to feel helpless when you experience something like this, for which you didn't have control because the power has been taken from you. But speaking about it takes some control over that horrible situation instead of keeping it to yourself and letting it consume you — like the perpetrator has won."

She told her friends immediately after she was raped, who helped her decision to call police.

"I probably wouldn’t have," she added. "But my case proves that it really does have the potential to make such a big difference."

Another form of support is women’s charities, such as Solace, which provides counselling and support groups especially for those who don’t feel they can talk to someone around them straight away, she pointed out.

Ahmed's jail sentencing provided her "the best form of closure" she could have hoped for, she said, and proved "justice can be served".

The Met Police have now relaunched their Ask for Angela scheme, which is linked to 400 licensed venues across London.

Those who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened can discreetly seek help by approaching staff at the venue and asking them for "Angela", a code-phrase to show they need help.

This might mean being reunited with a friend, help getting a taxi or even alerting the police.

Some 600 staff members at venues across London have been trained to help this month so far.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors said: "No one should have to put up with unwanted attention or predatory, sexual or violent behaviour. This scheme makes it easier for anyone feeling unsafe or threatened on a night out to access support quickly and discreetly."

Visit www.met.police.uk/AskforAngela to find out more about the scheme.