'Police could have stopped rapist,' says IPCC report

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A student who complained she was drugged and raped by a taxi driver was laughed at and lied to by police officers who released her attacker without searching his home or vehicle, an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report will say today.

John Worboys, the driver of a black cab, went on to sexually assault and rape dozens more women before being caught eight months later and jailed for life. An inquiry into the investigation has seen five Metropolitan Police officers disciplined after it was found that opportunities that could have stopped Worboys striking again were missed.

But, despite upholding complaints against five officers, none of them will lose their job. Two will receive written warnings and the other three will be verbally disciplined.

Worboys was convicted in March last year of 19 sexual offences, including one rape and four sexual assaults. He attacked his victims after persuading them to celebrate a false lottery win with champagne, which he had spiked with sedatives. His total number of victims stands at more than 100.

Following his conviction, the IPCC started an investigation after it emerged that Worboys, 51, was arrested and released after a woman made a complaint that she had been drugged and sexually assaulted in a taxi in July 2007.

The IPCC report, published today, investigated allegations made by the July 2007 victim, who said: "When I told them about my injuries they just laughed and said I must have fallen over." The police watchdog also looked into an allegation that officers had lied to her about the case, saying that files had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service when they had not.

The woman was also told by a police officer, supposedly specially trained in dealing with sexual offences, that drug tests she had taken had come back negative – but they were positive. The investigation also found that the officer in charge of the case, a detective constable, had a "mindset" that a black-cab driver could not have committed such an offence.

The July 2007 victim, who cannot be named, said: "I don't think the punishment is what it should be. I think jobs should have been lost."