Release of black cab rapist Worboys prompts review

A review has been launched following the controversial decision to release serial sex attacker John Worboys.

Amid anger from victims of the black cab rapist, who was jailed indefinitely with a minimum term of eight years in 2009, Theresa May said she was determined to do “what is necessary” to ensure there is more openness in the decision-making process.

Worboys, a former stripper and adult film star, was convicted of 19 counts of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 female passengers, in one case raping a woman, between 2002 and 2008.

The Parole Board’s decision has caused dismay among victims, with some only finding out about his release through media reports.

Worboys would offer passengers Champagne spiked with a sedative and show them a bag of cash

Image: Worboys would offer passengers Champagne spiked with a sedative and show them a bag of cash

Questions have also been raised as to why all of the 102 complainants did not see their cases brought to court.

In the wake of the decision, a victim told Sky’s Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt that after the trial victims were assured Worboys would never be released.

The Prime Minister said she knew one of his victims, who like many others had not been told about the Parole Board’s judgement beforehand.

“So I recognise why people are so concerned about this,” she said during an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“Obviously the Parole Board operates independently, but I think it’s right that we as a Government are saying that we should look at the question of openness and that we should look at this whole issue too of how victims are kept in touch with what is happening.”

Nick Hardwick

Video: Parole chair: Women ‘were failed’

The PM added: “We want to ensure that victims feel confident enough to come forward so that they feel confident that the police will take action and confident that they will get justice.

“The Justice Department will be looking at that over the next couple of months, they’ll be asking the question, ‘Do we need to do things in a different way?’ And, whatever the answer is, we’ll do what is necessary.”

Justice Secretary David Lidington has said he will look at ways to increase transparency.

He said: “While it is right that the Parole Board should remain an independent body, I believe that there is a strong case to review how to allow greater openness about the decision-making process.

“We also need to make sure arrangements across the criminal justice system ensure victims are both heard and, if they wish, kept informed about their case.”

The cab driven by Worboys

Image: The cab driven by Worboys

He said talks had been held “about what changes we could make to help victims of crime and provide greater transparency about the Board’s work”.

Victims’ groups would be spoken to as part of the review, Mr Lidington said, adding that work would start right away to make sure any decisions on changes can be taken before Easter.

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The Crown Prosecution Service has defended its decision not to pursue dozens of complaints against Worboys, saying many of them “did not pass the evidential test”.

Professor Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Parole Board, apologised “unreservedly” to victims who were “failed by the system”. He is to face questions from MPs over the “disturbing” release of Worboys.