The black cab rapist is to stay in prison after the Parole Board reversed its prior decision to release him. Earlier this year Nick Hardwick, chair of the Parole Board, was forced to resign following the furore of over the ruling that John Worboys be freed.
John Worboys was sentenced in 2009 for committing rape, four sexual assaults, an attempted sexual assault, an assault by penetration and 12 counts of administering a substance with intent against 12 victims, aged 19 to 33, between 2006 and 2008. All of the women he attacked had been in his black cab for a ride home. It is claimed that that Worboys might have committed more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults on women in his taxi.
In March, the Parole Board’s release was quashed by the High Court following a legal challenge by two women. Yesterday, a Parole Board spokeswoman confirmed that a newly constituted panel had turned down a parole review. of John Worboys following an paper hearing in October 2018. ‘Under current legislation Mr Worboys will be eligible for a further review within two years,’ she said. ‘The date of the next review will be set by the Ministry of Justice.’
When the High Court ruled in March that Worboys would remain in prison while his release was reconsidered by another Parole Board panel, Prof Hardwick was told he had to resign. ‘I think the Justice Secretary thought his position might become untenable and the way to avoid that was to get rid of me. I don’t think it’s the right decision, but that’s how politicians are,’ Hard wick said at the time – see interview here.
According to a report by the Press Association, among the documents considered by the panel were a 1,255 page dossier on Worboys and personal statements from seven victims. A summary of the decision said: ‘Having considered the Index Offences and all the evidence before it, the panel listed risk factors associated with Mr Worboys, including sexual preoccupation, a sense of sexual entitlement, his attitudes towards women [including a need to have sexual contact with women and to control women], a belief that rape is acceptable, alcohol misuse and problems with relationships.’
Kim Harrison, a lawyer at Slater and Gordon representing represents a number of Worboys’ victims, said, her clients were ‘deeply relieved’ by the decision. ‘However, it is outrageous that victims had to go to court, and be put through further distress, to receive this outcome. We hope this marks the start of a new template of working, providing victims with the respect they deserve and restoring faith within the criminal justice system,’ she said.
Following the controversy over the Worboys case , ministers scrapped a rule banning the Board from disclosing information about the reasoning behind its panels’ findings. According to PA, more than 1,400 requests for decision summaries have been lodged. The Government is also looking at a new mechanism for challenging decisions to release offenders.