Wife killer studying to be taxi driver

A convicted killer and paranoid schizophrenic has been given permission to study the "knowledge" to become a black cab driver despite fears about public safety, it was revealed today.

The man strangled his wife in 2000 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at the Old Bailey, it was reported.



The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to indefinite detention under the Mental Health Act in January 2001 but was released in October 2003, London's Evening Standard said.



It is understood that his conviction was declared "spent" in 2005 under offender rehabilitation laws.



His application to study for the knowledge in June 2007 was initially rejected but he appealed and was given permission to begin study in December 2007 after psychiatric assessments.



He was also granted a private hire driver licence at the same time following psychiatric reports.



Under the terms of the permission, among other checks he will have to under go a yearly medical to ensure his condition is under control.



A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said the decision to give the man permission to study for the knowledge and to grant a private hire vehicle licence had been referred to an independent board for them to adjudicate as to whether the decision was correct.



He said: "We fully recognise this is an issue of concern and the matter has been referred to an independent review.



"Passenger safety is always our first priority. Anyone applying to become a licensed taxi or private hire driver must complete an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.



"All applicants with a previous criminal conviction are subjected to rigorous checks and we work closely with the Metropolitan Police and the wider criminal justice system before any decision is made to ensure they are suitable to be a taxi driver.



"In this case we received reports from all of the relevant authorities and evidence from clinicians and the decision was based on that evidence."



Examiners at the Public Carriage Office (PCO), the part of TfL which regulates the cab trade, were reported to be "appalled" by the decision.



"The safety of the public is at risk," one told the Evening Standard. "This guy killed his wife less than 10 years ago and if he passes the exam we are going to put him in a cab, on his own, picking up lone women all over London."



Bob Crow, general secretary of taxi union RMT, said: "It defies belief that any individual who has been convicted of manslaughter for the killing of a woman could be even considered as an acceptable candidate for the knowledge and allowed out onto the London streets in a black cab.



"RMT will be taking this matter up with the PCO and TfL and we will be demanding action from the authorities.



"This situation should never have been allowed to get this far and that's a massive failure of the procedures and RMT shares the anger of the taxi drivers who are rightly appalled at this shocking news."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent