John Worboys: Black cab rapist jailed for life for more attacks – but could be released in just six years
Rapist John Worboys has been handed two life sentences after admitting to attacks on four more women who he picked up in his black cab.
But a judge set the minimum term at six years, meaning he could be considered for release once again in 2025.
The 62-year-old, who now goes by the name John Radford, had been judged fit to be freed from prison a year ago – having been jailed indefinitely in 2009.
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The decision was quashed following a legal challenge and amid public outrage over his planned release four more victims came forward to police.
One of the two women who brought the case that kept Worboys in prison earlier this year hit out at the six-year minimum term.
The victim, known as DSD, said: “I just hope that this won’t end up like the original sentence of a minimum of eight years and then release by the Parole Board.
“He has destroyed so many lives and I still believe he is capable of doing more harm. I fear for other women if he is ever released.”
Richard Scorer, a lawyer who represented 11 of Worboys’ victims, said they will only welcome the punishment “if life really means life”.
“Worboys is an exceptionally manipulative and dangerous individual,” he added.
“He will always pose a risk to women and he can never be allowed back into society.”
Mr Scorer, of Slater and Gordon, said Worboys has still only been prosecuted for “a fraction” of more than 100 attacks police fear he committed.
“Given the many past failings in this case, his victims remain very concerned that he could game the Parole Board once again. He needs to be locked up permanently – only then can his victims finally feel safe,” he added.
The defendant, originally from Enfield in north London, was given two life sentences for administering a stupefying or overpowering drug – with intent to commit rape or indecent assault – in two of the incidents.
He was handed concurrent six-year terms for two further counts of administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence.
A judge said the offences revealed that his attacks spanned five years longer than previously known.
“I find you are currently dangerous,” Mrs Justice McGowan said: “I do not know when, if ever, you will cease to be a risk. It will be for the Parole Board to decide in the future.”
The judge told the court she was concerned about Worboys’ ability to “manipulate others” and his failure to admit the risk he posed.
Solicitor Harriet Wistrich, who brought the judicial review and another case over police failures to investigate all of Worboys’ attacks, said the probation service was “not fit for purpose” to monitor Worboys or other dangerous offenders.
“At Centre for Women’s Justice we are inundated with enquiries of women, like the two victims, reporting rape and being denied justice by a failing police and Crown Prosecution Service,” she added.
A probation report, written in August, said he was “potentially just as dangerous” as when he was initially jailed a decade ago, the Old Bailey was told.
But medical experts disagreed over Worboys’ risk. Forensic psychiatrist Dr Nigel Blackwood said he was a “dangerous” offender who demonstrated “hostility towards women” and misled professionals in the past.
And Jackie Craissati said she considered Worboys to be at “low risk of reoffending” if he is eventually released under “managed controls”.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC told the sentencing hearing that a psychiatrist found Worboys had been “fantasising” about attacking women since 1986.
He said that the predator’s use of drugs had compounded their trauma by leaving them unable to remember what he had done to them.
“The consistent theme throughout, together with the content of what took place, seems to be the profound effect not knowing what happened has had in each of these women throughout their lives as a result of having been unfortunate enough to get into the defendant’s black cab,” Mr Penny added.
Worboys was originally due to be sentenced in October, but the hearing was delayed because he disputed the date of his earliest known attack.
The victim of the earliest assault said it took place in London in 2000 or 2001, but Worboys claimed it happened at least two years later.
A hearing in September was told that the woman got into his cab when she left a Mayfair bar, and he claimed he was a former Chippendales stripper celebrating winning money on the horses.
Worboys offered the woman champagne to “celebrate” and she agreed, but drinking it is her last memory of the evening.
Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said: “She woke up the next day, naked, with her clothes left in a trail on the way to her bed.”
The second victim in the new case was a university student in London in 2003, who was targeted after leaving a nightclub on New Oxford Street in what was “an identical method not only to the first count but a number of previous convictions”.
Worboys said he had won the lottery and the woman remembered being given “something fizzy” –before seeing Worboys “in her face” before blacking out.
Years later, she recognised Worboys from a picture on television and had “flashbacks” to what happened when she was pregnant with her two children.
The third victim was picked up after a night out in 2007, and Worboys flashed a carrier bag of banknotes after claiming he won £40,000 at a casino.
He pulled up and gave her a drink, and she next remembered waking up in bed with a hangover.
In 2009, the woman recognised Worboys in a newspaper report but chose not to pursue her case because he was already going to prison.
The fourth woman was attacked in 2007 or 2008 after she and a friend were picked up by Worboys – who claimed on that occasion that he had won the lottery.
The woman took three sips from a cup of what he said was champagne, and had no memory of leaving the taxi.
Mr Penny said: “She woke up in bed the following morning. The bedclothes had not moved and her hands were crossed over her chest, which was unusual.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ann-Marie Waller, of the Metropolitan Police, praised the victims’ courage “in re-living their ordeals and reporting the crimes committed against them to police”.
“Radford’s criminal history and predatory nature is well-documented and the disgust and anger about his serial offending will endure for years to come,” she added.
Tina Dempster, of the CPS, called Worboys a “dangerous predator who still poses a clear threat to women”.
She added: “Worboys claims to show remorse and believes he deserves credit for these guilty pleas. But the fact is he did not accept responsibility for his first set of convictions until recently and, in a clear effort to minimise the extent of his crimes, continued to dispute victims’ accounts of the latest offences.”
All four women made their allegations to police in early 2018, following news that the Parole Board had judged Worboys fit for release.
In 2009, he had been jailed indefinitely for public protection with a minimum of eight years for sex attacks on 12 women.
Worboys’ first trial heard how he picked up victims in London’s West End and plied them with champagne laced with sedatives on the pretext of celebrating a lottery or casino win.
Police suspected him of attacking more than 100 victims but several investigations were dropped with no further action on advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and only a sample of known incidents were charged in the original case.
Worboys’s victims launched a successful legal challenge last year and the decision to release him was quashed.
The Parole Board later ruled that he should remain in prison, citing his “sense of sexual entitlement” and a need to control women.
The scandal sparked the forced resignation of former Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick and a government review of the body’s rules.
Additional reporting by PA