A FAKE “taxi driver” has been jailed for seven years for sexually assaulting a woman passenger.

The 24-year-old victim told York Crown Court she believed her drink had been spiked during a night out in the city centre with friends.

She said she felt “mangy” and “totally out of it” as she left Vudu.

Dominic Spiteri, 53, came up to her, said he was a taxi driver and offered to take her home on “mates rates”.

Once they were alone in his vehicle, he started molesting her and took her to a lonely layby in the countryside, where he sexually assaulted her so hard, she was in pain for days afterwards.

She said she couldn’t stop him because of the state she was in but kept saying “no”.

Spiteri, who worked as a doorman on city centre clubs, denied claiming to be a taxi driver or spiking her drink.

He claimed from the witness box that she had introduced him to her friends inside Vudu. In the car, she had flirted with him and initiated sexual contact.

He denied witness statements that the victim had vomited when they reached the hotel where her friends were staying.

The jury convicted Spiteri , of Parliament Street, Norton, of sexual assault after four hours in retirement.

“The victim was particularly vulnerable due to her personal circumstances,” Judge Simon Batiste told Spiteri. “She was alone in a “taxi” with you, late at night where she was obviously clearly incapable due to her intoxicated state.You took advantage of that.

“You have not shown one shred of remorse for your behaviour.

“This was a horrible attack.”

He jailed Spiteri for seven years, made a lifelong sexual harm prevention order forbidding him to have a woman alone with him in a car or contacting the victim in any way and put him on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The victim cried as the jury returned their verdict at the end of a four-day trial.

The judge said she had suffered “considerable psychological harm” .

In a personal statement she said she felt violated, now couldn’t trust men and didn’t like to be alone with any man.

Keith Allen, for Spiteri, said he was now suffering from depression and under the care of a psychiatrist.

The victim told the jury she had been reluctant to go to the police initially because she had had a bad experience when she had been a complainant in a different case.

The jury heard that the original police officer in charge of the Spiteri case had been taken off it.

The victim said the officer had not carried out basic investigations or arranged for her to give her evidence via video link, as is standard in sex cases.

The jury heard a second officer took over the case and gathered the evidence against Spiteri.