Cab driver 'drugged and raped' passengers

A taxi driver drugged and sexually assaulted a string of women passengers after pretending he had won the lottery, a court heard today.

John Worboys, 51, preyed on young women he picked up in London's West End, Croydon Crown Court was told.



He is accused of using date rape drugs dissolved in champagne to "stupefy" his victims before attacking them in the back of the cab.



Prosecutor Johannah Cutts QC said Worboys attacked 14 women during an 18-month reign of terror until his arrest last February.



She said Worboys cruised the streets of central London late at night in his black cab looking for single women to offer discount lifts home to.



Miss Cutts said: "His primary intent had nothing to do with taking them home. His primary purpose was wholly sexual in nature.



"His intent was to ensure that they were completely at his mercy and then to sexually molest them.



"Having each girl alone in his cab was a start but this defendant wanted to ensure that there would be no struggle, no difficulty in achieving this aim. How did he do that? He did it by drugging them."



Worboys employed date rape drugs to render his victims powerless and to make them forgetful, the court was told.



Miss Cutts said: "Mr Worboys made regular use of such drugs, administering them to female passengers in his cab in the hope that they would render them unconscious and thereby unable to resist his sexual advances.



"The additional benefit to him of using such drugs is that these drugs cause what is called anterograde amnesia. That is memory loss and the forgetting of events and experiences that occurred after the drug took effect."



The jury was told Worboys would tell passengers he had won a large amount of money either in the lottery or at a casino.



Miss Cutts said the cab driver sometimes showed passengers a carrier bag full of cash to back up his story.



She said: "He would begin by engaging the girl in conversation, asking about her night and the like.



"Once they were talking, he told her that he was glad that he had met her as he had experienced some good fortune that night in that he had won a quantity of cash.



"In most cases he said that this had been at a casino. Sometimes he said it was by way of the lottery.



"Sometimes he specified the sum that he had won. When he did so it was generally a substantial sum."



During the conversation Worboys would invite his victims to share a bottle of champagne and pour them a glass from the front of the cab, the court heard.



Miss Cutts said although some passengers did not want to drink, they felt it would be rude to refuse. Some just pretended, she added.



She said: "The drink was rarely poured in front of them. As the defendant often had a drink at the same time as the complainant, it seems likely that he added the drug at the point at which he poured the drink.



"In every case where the drink was consumed in any quantity, it had a powerful effect."



Worboys would then get into the back of the cab and engage his victim in further conversation, this time of a sexual nature, as he watched the drug take effect.



Miss Cutts said: "In each case he was able to see when his passenger became affected by the drug. Many of the complainants remember falling asleep or losing consciousness.



"Most have no recollection of what happened thereafter until they got home, or in some cases until the next day. Many are not able to say whether they were sexually assaulted or not.



"But the defendant's intent in drugging them was clear. Some of the complainants did come round a little in the cab having consumed the drink.



"Those that did come round remember the defendant touching them sexually in some way. One of them remembers him actually having sexual intercourse with her and was powerless to resist."



Worboys, of Rotherhithe, south east London, denies 23 charges including rape, sexual assault and administering a substance with intent.







When Worboys' home was searched, Miss Cutts said discoveries were made "which we say showed all too clearly his intent when he went out in his cab at night".



Pictures shown to the jury included Worboys' Fiat Punto, which was taken to a police compound and searched.



Inside the boot was found a "tool kit" containing what Miss Cutts said was everything he needed to stupefy and sexually assault a passenger, including four small bottles of champagne.



In a blue bag with Petroleum written on it were gloves, a beret, a map and a torch.



In addition, officers found a large number of plastic gloves, plastic cups and a vibrator in a box.



The vibrator was sent away for forensic tests and the DNA of one of his alleged victims was found on it, jurors were told.



The blue bag contained a further blue carrier bag, inside which was a single Durex condom and a box of mixed flavour condoms.



Also found was a strip of Nytol tablets, which jurors were told contains an antihistamine called diphenhydramine with sedative properties.



Miss Cutts said: "As you would expect, its effects include drowsiness as well as sometimes causing dizziness, fatigue, loss of co-ordination, blurred vision and dryness of mouth.



"Any sedation associated with the use of the drug is likely to be enhanced by the consumption of alcohol at the same time. Indeed, the tablets carry a warning to avoid alcohol."



An ashtray and spoon which was found in the bag were washed with solvent and tested, Miss Cutts said.



She said the drug diphenhydramine was found on both items, which was "significant" because traces were found in the urine of two of the alleged victims.



The drug, along with traces of Temazapam, was also found in a half-pint cup at Worboys' home, jurors were told.



That cup contained the DNA of a further alleged victim and, said Miss Cutts, was one of the drugs used by Worboys to stupefy the women.



Temazapam was found in urine samples provided by two women who had not knowingly taken it.



The Fiat Punto boot also contained wine boxes, bottles of Jack Daniels, whisky, gin and vodka in addition to bottles of wine.



"These too are significant," said Miss Cutts. "In every case the defendant began by offering the complainant champagne or home-made wine.



"But he also had other types of alcohol should, we say, the complainant be happy to accept his offer of a drink but not like champagne."



Miss Cutts said: "The combination of these items, many of which you would not expect together, in the bags in the boot of his car show how prepared the defendant was.



"Everything he needed for his enterprise was there.



"The alcohol - his celebratory bottle of champagne; the glasses in which to pour it; the additional alcohol in case it is preferred to champagne; the drugs - Nytol and Temazapam; the condoms and the vibrator.



"As we say, Mr Worboys was not opportunistic. He knew what he wanted and he was prepared."





The powerful sedatives left Worboys' victims insensible and with little memory of their ordeal, the court was told.



But one woman remembered being raped, a second woke up to find him with his hand up her skirt and a third said he exposed himself.



Miss Cutts said: "The prosecution say there can be no clearer indication of his intent in administering the drug than from his behaviour with these women."



Several women contacted police with similar stories, but it was not until last year that Worboys' "luck began to run out", the jury was told.



Police identified the cab driver after one woman, who was driven from London Bridge to Twickenham on February 5, contacted them with her concerns.



They linked her case to four other victims with remarkably similar stories and arrested Worboys 10 days later, Miss Cutts said.



Several more victims came forward to tell police their stories following press reports of his arrest.



Detectives discovered many of the women's journeys home took considerably longer than necessary.



They found he targeted women who had been drinking and on some occasions dropped off their friends before pouncing, the court heard.



Miss Cutts said: "He always waited until he dropped one off before he began to tell his utterly bogus story of winning cash to the one remaining."

Suggested Topics
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape