‘Black cab rapist’ granted parole after less than a decade in jail

A serial rapist suspected of committing more than 100 sex offences will be released just eight years into a life sentence.

Jan 4, 2018

A serial rapist suspected of committing more than 100 sex offences will be released just eight years into a life sentence. John Worboys, 60, was convicted in 2009 for a series of rapes and sexual assaults carried out on London women during his time working as a taxi driver. On Thursday (January 4), the Parole Board announced that he will be released under strict licence conditions including weekly meetings with probation staff and a ban on contacting his victims. The decision has sparked accusations that the criminal justice system is failing to protect women. Between 2002 and 2008, Worboys repeatedly gave female passengers in his cab drug-laced champagne before sexually assaulting them. Croydon Crown Court initially found Worboys guilty of 19 offences against 12 women and ordered him to spend a minimum of eight years in jail. Dozens more people came forward after his conviction and the Metropolitan Police Service now believes he may have attacked more than 100 women. In 2010, the Independent Police Complaints Commission identified serious mistakes in the investigation into Worboys’ crimes but made no disciplinary recommendations. His case was considered by the Parole Board last November and approved by a three-member panel following an oral hearing. Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, described the decision as “shocking”. “There are many serious questions why this dangerous man has been given parole after serving such a short sentence for his attacks against women,” she said. “Given the seriousness of this case, the Parole Board should publish their reasons immediately so both the decision and the process can be scrutinised before this man is released. “We also need to know what information and support was given to all the victims before this decision was taken.” A spokesperson for the Women’s Equality Party said: “The criminal justice system continues to fail to protect women. “Police believe John Worboys targeted more than 100 women but he was convicted of attacking just 12. Now he will be freed – without his victims even being informed.” Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive officer of sexual violence charity nia, added that she is “convinced that women are less safe on the streets with this serial rapist out of jail”.

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