11:48, January 04 373 0 theguardian.com

2018-01-04 11:48:03
'Black-cab rapist' John Worboys to be released from prison

John Worboys, the serial rapist who police fear may have had more than 100 victims, is to be released from prison after serving less than nine years of what could have been an indefinite sentence.

Worboys, 51, was jailed in April 2009 after a jury convicted him of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting at least 12 women, including raping one of them.

After his conviction, police received further complaints from dozens of women and said that over his 13-year career as a London taxi driver he could have drugged and attacked more than 100 female passengers.

He was handed an indeterminate sentence with a minimum term of eight years to be served before the parole board could approve his release. Nine months into his ninth year in prison, they have cleared him to be freed.

In a statement the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a three-member panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Mr John Worboys, following an oral hearing.

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

An indeterminate prison sentence does not have a fixed length of time, meaning no date is set when the person will be released and they have to spend a minimum amount of time in prison before they are considered for release.

Police repeatedly failed to respond to the complaints of his victims but after his conviction senior officers said they would interview Worboys in prison in an attempt to clear up dozens of unsolved sex crimes.

Worboys, from east London, hid behind the facade of a respectable taxi driver to pick up professional women from the centre of London and Bournemouth in the early hours of the morning. He targeted victims who looked like they had been drinking.

He offered them champagne in his cab, claiming he had won money on the lottery or in a casino. The drinks were spiked with a powerful prescription drug and an over-the-counter medicine, a cocktail that left the women so incapacitated he was able to rape and sexually assault them. When they woke, many of the victims could not remember what had happened.

One victim came round to find Worboys raping her. The following day, Worboys put an envelope through her door containing £10 and a note wishing her a happy Christmas.

Worboys was banned from driving a passenger vehicle for profit and his black cab and a carrier bag filled with £3,680 was forfeited as part of his sentencing.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission identified serious mistakes during the Met investigations into Worboys, which allowed him to continue preying on women.

The failures in the cases of Worboys and another serial rapist, Kirk Reid, led the Met to overhaul the way they investigate serious sexual assaults.