AN ALCESTER taxi driver facing jail for engaging in sexual activity with a woman with a mental disorder tried to commit suicide the night before he was due to be sentenced.
Ernest Grainger, aged 62, of Alne Bank Road, Alcester, had previously pleaded guilty to indulging in two sexual acts in September 2012 with a woman whose free choice is impeded.
He knew that because of her condition she was likely to be unable to refuse, a court was told.
Known by his middle name John, Grainger was working as a taxi driver at the time and met the woman when he had picked her up as a fare.
He was due to appear in court on Monday but disappeared at 5am in the morning, leaving his wife at home. He also left behind his mobile phone and hearing aid.
Concerned for his safety, police launched a search for Grainger.
They found him in Worcestershire in the early hours of Tuesday morning, arrested him, and brought him before the court later that day.
When asked why he had failed to attend his sentencing on Monday, Grainger replied: “I was in a pretty bad mental state and didn’t know what I was doing. I was thinking of suicide.”
Asked if it was true he had made an attempt to take his own life, Grainger replied: “Yes.”
Judge Alan Parker said: “I have concluded you had it in mind not to come; that it was planned.”
He told Grainger he was not going to sentence him for the original offences until a hearing at the end of November to enable the victim and her relatives to attend the hearing if they wished to do so.
Judge Parker jailed him for 21 days for failing to attend court, and ordered that Grainger should then be remanded in custody until his sentencing.
Explaining his decision to refuse bail, the judge told Grainger: “I am satisfied that if I granted you bail you would be likely to fail to surrender; but a more overwhelming consideration is for your own safety.”
Judge Parker observed: “He is facing a sentence which, after a trial, could have been measured in double figures.
“On the other hand, it could be considerably less, subject to the argument on whether this was a breach of trust.”
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