Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Campaigners welcome possible judicial review into John Worboys' release

Victims and campaigners have welcomed a possible review of black cab serial rapist John Worboys' release.

The new Justice Secretary David Gauke said on Saturday night he had sought legal advice on the prospect of beginning efforts to keep the predatory attacker behind bars following a mass public outcry.

The announcement last week that London cabbie Worboys would be freed nine years after he was imprisoned prompted dismay from victims' groups, politicians and legal experts.

He was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers in London. Many of his victims were young women who had been drinking in trendy night spots in the West End and Chelsea.

The taxi driver offered them champagne spiked with powerful sedatives to celebrate a fictional lottery win, backed up with a carrier bag stuffed full of cash.

He was convicted of 19 offences relating to 12 victims but is suspected of being one of the country's most prolific sex offenders after he was linked to 102 complaints in total.

Worboys pretended he he won the lottery and offered his victims spiked Champagne. Credit: PA

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer from Slater and Gordon which represented some of Worboys' victims, said: "Our clients are pleased that their fears and concerns are finally being recognised.

"They feel like they have been ignored, dismissed and deeply let down by the criminal justice system in the way they have been treated in the past week.

"We hope that Mr Gauke's comments are followed up with action and that he challenges the decision of the parole board.

"We believe this manipulative, dangerous serial sex offender is still a danger to the public and releasing him now would put many women at risk." London mayor Sadiq Khan vowed Worboys should not be allowed to return to the city where he carried out attacks.

He said: "I'm astonished by the decision to release John Worboys. The Parole Board must listen to his victims and he should not be allowed to set foot in London."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Mr Gauke commissioned, mid-last week, advice on the plausibility of a judicial review and the prospect of success of any judicial review.

"The Secretary of State is minded to move forward only if there was a reasonable prospect of success."

It is understood Worboys' licence conditions have not yet been finalised and victims will have a chance to give their views to the Parole Board on suitable conditions before his release.