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‘Taxi rapist’: I craved attention

A taxi driver accused of a string of sexual assaults admitted in court yesterday that he had plied young women passengers with champagne and told them lies about his life.

John Worboys, 51, told Croydon Crown Court that he was a retired stripper who craved the attention of women after the death of his mother when he was a child. He said he had made up stories about winning at casinos as “banter” to engage women’s interest before offering them a drink.

Mr Worboys denies 23 charges, including rape, sexual assault and administering a substance with intent, linked to 14 alleged victims.

He admitted using a false name and inventing details about his background to “aid conversation”.

“I used to ask if they would celebrate with me and have a drink, either champagne or wine, just to celebrate my winnings,” he said.

The prosecution claims Mr Worboys, of Rotherhithe, south-east London, spent 18 months preying on young women he picked up outside nightspots across central London.

The trial was adjourned until Monday when the jury will hear Mr Worboys’ account of a journey during which a woman claims he raped her.