Government orders Parole Board review after outcry over 'black cab rapist' John Worboys' release

Posted On: 
7th January 2018

Theresa May will launch a review into parole board hearings following intense public criticism of the decision to release serial rapist John Worboys.

David Lidington said there was a "strong case" for looking into parole board transparency
Credit: 
PA Images

The former taxi driver has served less than nine years of what could have been an indefinite sentence for multiple sexual offences against women.

He was convicted in 2009 of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women passengers and one charge of rape.

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In 2010 the Metropolitan Police said dozens of other women had come forward and the total number of his victims could be more than 100.

Justice Secretary David Lidington said he had had talks with the chairman of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, and Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove about potential steps to improve transparency in the system.

“It is a priority for this Government that victims of rape and sexual assault have full confidence in the criminal justice system,” he said.

“While sentence lengths for these horrific crimes have increased by more than 30% since 2010, and more victims are coming forward, there is still more to do. 

“While it is right that the Parole Board should remain an independent body, I believe that there is a strong case to review how to allow greater openness about the decision-making process. 

“We also need to make sure arrangements across the criminal justice system ensure victims are both heard and, if they wish, kept informed about their case.”

A Downing Street source told the Sunday Express the Prime Minister backed the move to “make things a lot better for victims”.

“Like everyone else, the Prime Minister’s thoughts are with the victims of Worboys’s horrendous crimes and the pain and the suffering they have endured,” they said.

“The Prime Minister welcomes the fact that the whole process is going to be reviewed so we can improve the system for the future. 

“While it is right that parole decisions should be taken by independent boards and not politicians, clearly there has been a lack of transparency in this case and we need to make things a lot better for victims.”