John Worboys: 'Black cab rapist' accused of attacking more than 100 women to be released from prison

Driver was handed an indeterminate sentence for public protection in 2009

John Worboys drugged women using glasses of champagne in his cab
John Worboys drugged women using glasses of champagne in his cab

John Worboys, the “black cab rapist” who allegedly attacked more than 100 women, is to be released from prison.

He was told to expect a “very substantial term of imprisonment” after being convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 victims and raping one woman in 2009.

But a three-member panel of the Parole Board directed Worboys could be released under strict conditions after an oral hearing.

“The arrangements for Mr Worboys’ release will be managed by the Ministry of Justice,” a spokesperson added.

News of his imminent freedom sparked outrage from members of the public and campaigners, who raised concern over the distress caused to victims.

There were calls for police and prosecutors to pursue dozens of other claims against Worboys that were not incorporated into the original court case.

Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, said she was “shocked” by the decision to release the serial sex attacker, adding: “His were the most appalling and vile crimes. Very serious questions about this decision.”

Yvonne Traynor, the chief executive of Rape Crisis South London, described the time Worboys spent in prison as “woefully short”.

“It feels far too soon for this dangerous and manipulative perpetrator to be released into the public having served this woefully short time in prison,” she said.

“He may be free to live amongst us but the women he raped will never be totally free from his despicable actions.”

Fay Maxted OBE, chief executive of The Survivors Trust, said many people were rightly “shocked” by the decision.

“The nature of the sexual assaults and manner in which they were committed demonstrates a very calculated and determined pattern of behaviour and offending against women and it will no doubt take significant resources in ongoing monitoring and support to integrate Worboys back into society,” she added.

“The majority of victims only came forward after Worboys had been convicted so they have had no opportunity for justice.

”Sentencing and any compensation awarded to victims of sexual assault never seems to take into account the long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of victims or the ways in which their lives can be forever changed as a result of the trauma.”

Worboys, a former stripper and amateur porn star from south-east London, has been incarcerated for around 10 years including the period between his arrest and sentencing.

The Parole Board only approves an inmate’s release when it is satisfied they no longer need to remain in prison in order to protect the public.

Warboys is understood to face heavy restrictions over a licence period of over a decade, which will see him jailed again for breaching conditions.

He was handed an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum of eight years following the original eight-week trial.

The court heard how Worboys would ply female passengers with spiked champagne, which he persuaded them to drink by pretending he was celebrating a lottery or gambling win.

Police linked him with 83 crimes committed between 2006 and 2008 but more women came forward in light of the court case, bringing the potential total of victims to 102.

The Independent understands that 19 allegations that emerged following Warboys’ conviction were investigated by Scotland Yard but dropped with no further action on advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

Scotland Yard was heavily criticised over its handling of the case after it emerged that Worboys had been arrested when victims came forward in 2007, but freed.

He went on to attack at least six other women before being arrested for a second time and charged in February 2008.

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich said two victims had not been informed of the decision to release Worboys.

She told Channel 4 news they first learned of the news while “listening on the radio, cooking tea for the kids”.

She said: “They’ve both said they’re absolutely sick and disgusted and shocked to the core about it.”

It is understood all those who were signed up to the victim contact scheme were informed as soon as the parole board decision was made.

Scotland Yard launched an internal review and reforms to the way it handles sex offences in light of the case 

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found a student was laughed at by police officers after telling them she had been drugged and assaulted.

“When I told them about my injuries they just laughed and said I must have fallen over,” she said of the incident in July 2007.

Five officers were disciplined after it was found that opportunities that could have stopped Worboys striking again were missed.

The IPCC found officers had also given the victim incorrect information on the case, saying that files had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service when they had not.

The woman was also told that drug tests she had taken had come back negative when they were positive, while the officer in charge of the case had a “mindset” that a black-cab driver could not have committed such an offence.

No officers lost their jobs over the case, which promoted public outrage and resulted in an internal review and reforms to training and the way sexual assault claims are handled.

Where Worboys attacked

  • 14 October 2006: Victim picked up in west London. Worboys gives her “aspirin”. Offers her champagne to celebrate casino win. Assaults her. She goes to police but later withdraws allegation
  • 9 November 2006: Victim picked up in Regent Street. Worboys claims to have won £70,000. Gives her champagne which leaves her unconscious. Incident is not reported
  • 4 April 2007: 22-year-old picked up near Oxford Circus. Victim refuses champagne. Worboys drops her off and says: “You’ve really wasted my time”
  • 28 June 2007: Picks up woman in Regent Street. Tells her he has won £47,000. She remembers Worboys kissing her
  • July 2007: 19-year-old refuses champagne but accepts £50 to drink vodka. Her 14-minute route from west London to East Sheen takes nearly two hours
  • 25 July 2007: 19-year-old student flags cab at Covent Garden to take her to Eltham. She drinks champagne and Worboys pushes a pill in her mouth. She wakes with blood in her underwear
  • 27 July 2007: Worboys arrested for the Eltham attack but later released. Police close investigation three months later
  • 20 December 2007: Worboys picks up virgin who is a lesbian in Tottenham Court Road for trip to Putney. Rapes her, later sends her £10 in a Christmas card
  • 2 January 2008: Picks up 29-year-old. Asks if she’ll have sex for money. Worboys says he’s always wanted to rape a prostitute. She escapes
  • 31 January 2008: Picks up woman in Soho. She has drink. Wakes to find dress ridden up and Worboys fiddling with belt. DNA on his vibrator linked to her
  • 5 February 2008: Collects woman in London Bridge. She remembers nothing but traces of oil from a condom are found in her underwear.
  • 13 February 2008: Picks up 30-year-old in Soho for trip to Shepherd’s Bush. She notices pill and foil on top of drink. Worboys offers her £5,000 for sex act
  • 14 February 2008: Picks up 18-year-old in Soho. She remembers nothing but 30-minute trip takes more than an hour
  • 15 February 2008: Worboys arrested

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