A TAXI driver who indecently assaulted two female passengers in separate incidents was told by a judge yesterday that he "must expect substantial punishment".

Mohammed Shafique, aged 30, of Corporation Road, Newport, was remanded in custody after being convicted of the attacks by a jury at Cardiff crown court.

He was found guilty of indecent assault and sexual assault on the two customers, both picked up in Newport city centre, in 2002 and October 2004.

Prosecutor Jane Rowley told the court how a 21-year-old woman was attacked after she got into Shafique's cab following a night out with friends three years ago.

Ms Rowley said: "Mr Shafique slid his left hand on her right thigh."

Then, Ms Rowley said, Shafique touched her indecently.

Ms Rowley said Shafique told the woman: "Would you like to pay in other ways? Do you want sex with me?"

The court also heard that a 17-year-old girl was attacked by Shafique in October 2004 when she got into his taxi after a night out, during which she drank two pints of cider, vodka shots and cocktails.

Ms Rowley told the jury Shafique eyed her up and down before asking her, "have you ever slept with an Asian guy?"

It was alleged he put his hands on her thigh, touched her indecently and asked her, "shall we do it in the car?"

Shafique denied touching both customers.

He told the jury, through an interpreter: "Nothing like that happened... I did not put my hands on the women.

"I told them to stop swearing, and when I asked one of the women to stop smoking, she said 'OK', and put her hand on my thigh."

He said: "I have no need to tell lies. I am happily married, how can you say this?"

After the jury of nine women and three men convicted Shafique, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall, QC, remanded him in custody.

The judge told him: "A taxi driver who attacks customers must expect a substantial punishment.

"When women get into a taxi they have to be absolutely sure they will be treated responsibly and effectively."

Shafique's sentence was adjourned for a fortnight for the preparation of reports.