London: A Sikh taxi driver has been hailed as a hero for saving a 13-year-old school girl in the UK from a planned abduction by a paedophile armed with knives, tape and sleeping pills, a media report said.
Satbir Arora picked up the girl on February 20, dressed in her school uniform, after she booked his taxi to go from her home in Oxfordshire to Gloucester train station, the Metro.co.uk reported.
But waiting for the underage girl was 24-year-old Sam Hewings, who planned to abduct her after she was dropped off. He had already discussed kidnapping, sedating and raping a victim on online forums, the report said.
When no one arrived to meet the girl, the taxi driver asked her for more information but when pressed she declined to say more, it said.
Arora tried to ascertain whether the girl’s parents knew where she was, while phoning the man she said she was meeting making recordings of all of the calls.
Arora called his wife with whom he runs the taxi service and discussed his concerns with her, before passing the phone to the girl. The girl eventually confided in Arora that her parents did not know where she was, it said.
He then called the police, while also alerted a nearby police officer. Arora has now been given an award for his work protecting the girl on February 20 this year, saving her from an ‘unthinkable ordeal’, the report added.
“Satbir Arora was presented with a certificate for outstanding achievement in safeguarding, by Councillor Kieron Mallon, the lead member for public protection,” a spokesman for Cherwell District Council said.
“I can’t praise Arora enough for his caring attitude and for recognising that his passenger was in grave danger,” Mallon said.
He saved his passenger from an “unthinkable ordeal”, and had the presence of mind to record his calls with the would-be kidnapper, providing crucial evidence to the prosecution service, Mallon added.