Everyone has been shocked by the sudden decision to release John Worboys, convicted 8 years ago of rape, sexual assault and drugging women in the cab he drove. The police and CPS investigated reports of assault by more than 100 women and believe he is one of the UK’s most prolific serial rapists. The judge at his trial described him as a significant risk to women (1).
Women’s groups, victims of Worboys and lawyers have been asking how the Parole Board could conclude this convicted rapist is now safe to be released. The rules of the Parole Board mean we can’t know what information they based their decision on, who they spoke to and why they are confident that he won’t rape again.
That is why women’s groups are today supporting a legal challenge by two of Worboys’ victims and a crowdfund campaign to raise money to support the challenge.
Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said:
“The current system offers no way for victims or concerned citizens to challenge a Parole Board decision, even when it is outrageous, as in this case. Given what we know about this dangerous rapist, how he has consistently denied his crimes and how he has lied to and deceived so many people, it is impossible to understand how he could be assessed as no longer presenting a risk.
“John Worboys was described by the judge as extremely dangerous to women, and many women who police believe were raped by him were reassured by the authorities that he would be in prison for a very long time. Those women now feel let down again by a system which has failed at every stage of this case.”
Bringing a judicial review is the only possible avenue to challenge the Parole Board. It needs specialist legal expertise. This kind of challenge unfairly cannot be funded from the public purse. The victims and their supporters hope that members of the public who want to see justice delivered in this case will contribute whatever they can afford.
“It is sad that, as we celebrate 100 years of votes for some women, the civil rights of women to use the law and challenge poor decisions is still limited.
“It is simply not good enough for the Parole Board to ask us to trust them. The police have admitted that the initial investigation was bungled. We know that the treatment programmes which have been relied on in prisons for 25 years have been found to be ineffective, or even to make matters worse. We know that the probation service is under-resourced and find it difficult to keep tabs on criminals released on licence. How can we now trust in a system which has repeatedly failed?
“Women across the country deserve to know how the Parole Board reached its conclusions, and victims must have the opportunity to test and reverse the decision. The only way to do this is to bring an expensive legal challenge, which is why we are supporting today’s crowdfunder campaign to fund this. We are asking everyone who thinks the Parole Board should be forced to think again to support this campaign and give what they can.”
Worboys’ victims known as DSD and NBV are calling on the public to back their challenge via crowdfunding site CrowdJustice: www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenge-worboys-release
1 – Jailing Worboys, Mr Justice Penry-Davey, QC, said: “You developed and perfected a web of deceit that was sufficient to ensnare young, intelligent and sensible young women who had enjoyed a night out and whose only mistake, as it turned out, was to get in to your cab late at night. The judge said a report on Worboys found the cabbie was a “repetitive predatory sexual offender” who had not accepted his crimes and had shown a “significant degree of sexual deviance”. A further report suggested he posed a “significant risk of re-offending”.
2 – The crowdfund will be live on CrowdJustice from 2pm Wednesday 17th January 2018: www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenge-worboys-release. CrowdJustice is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to raising funds and awareness for legal cases.