Yvette Cooper: Parole Board must publish reasons for releasing 'black cab rapist' John Worboys

Posted On: 
5th January 2018

A senior MP has called for the Parole Board to publish its reasons for approving the release of a serial sex attacker after just eight years.

Yvette Cooper is chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Credit: 
PA Images

Former taxi driver John Worboys was convicted in 2009 of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women passengers and one charge of rape.

He was ordered to serve a minimum sentence of eight years, but 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.

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."

But Yvette Copper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, hit out at the decision.

She said: "John Worboys’ release after only serving his minimum sentence of eight years is a shocking decision by the Parole Board, and deeply upsetting for the victims who have to live with Worboys’ horrific attack for the rest of their lives.

"There are many serious questions why this dangerous man has been given parole after serving such a short sentence for his attacks against women.

"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."

Meanwhile, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has also come in for criticism over the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to pursue further charges against Worboys following his conviction.

He was Director of Public Prosecutions at the time, and Tory MP Priti Patel told the Daily Mail: "This is an appalling reflection on someone who is now a Labour shadow minister of their soft on crime stance and lack of interest in wanting to prosecute such horrendous crimes against women … because Worboys was in prison.

"There are serious questions to answer as to why this was not taken further, why he failed to look into the allegations and why he failed to act."

A spokesman for Sir Keir said he was maintaining his position of not commenting on cases from his time as DPP.

The Times also reports that Labour peer Baroness Scotland - who was attorney general when Warboys was convicted - rejected complaints that his sentence was too lenient.

The Attorney General’s Office said: "John Worboys’s sentence was considered by the attorney general at the time. There are sentencing guidelines that judges must adhere to and, in this case, the sentence given fell within the guidelines available at that time."