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Sex attack cab driver jailed for minimum eight years

A London taxi driver who sexually assaulted a string of women passengers whom he plied with champagne laced with sedatives was jailed for at least eight years today.

John Worboys, 51, drugged his victims after telling them he had won money at casinos or on the lottery, and persuaded them to celebrate with him.

He was found guilty last month of attacking 12 women passengers, one of whom was raped, during a series of assaults dating from October 2006 until early 2008.

Media reports said police suspected he could have attacked up to 85 women across London and in other areas of the country and detectives have appealed to any other victims to come forward.

At Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday he was jailed indefinitely and told he must serve at least eight years, the Press Association reported.

The judge, Justice Penry-Davey, said the cab driver would not be released until a parole board decides he no longer poses a threat to women.

A pre-sentence report found Worboys is a "repetitive predatory sexual offender" who showed a "significant degree of sexual deviance", the judge said.

"Armed with your plausible but lying story, you set out on a campaign of sexual assault, choosing those that had been drinking alcohol and concerned about getting home safely," Penry-Davey said.

During his trial, the court heard how Worboys preyed on women he picked up in London's West End and in Kensington, looking out for those who had been drinking, and offering them cheap or even free lifts home.

He would spin them a story of how he had won money on the lottery or at a casino and show them a carrier bag full of cash.

He would offer them champagne to help him celebrate as he said it was his last fare of the night. But the drinks were mixed with powerful sedatives that left his victims powerless to stop him sexually assaulting them.

Worboys admitted lying to the women and offering them drinks and claimed he did it because he craved female attention in the wake of a series of failed relationships.

But police discovered a "rape kit", including gloves, alcohol, glasses, drugs, condoms and a sex toy concealed in a plastic bag in another vehicle at his home.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating why Worboys had been arrested by detectives in 2007 but released, allowing him to commit more offences.