Reasons for giving black cab rapist parole should be public, says Yvette Cooper

The Parole Board should immediately publish its reasons for allowing the release of London cabbie rapist John Worboys from prison, the head of an influential parliamentary committee has said.

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said she was "really shocked" by the move and called for scrutiny of the Parole Board's reasoning before the prolific sex attacker is let out of jail.

Worboys, a former stripper and adult film star, was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers.


It is feared he may have more than 100 victims and the Parole Board's decision sparked an outcry from charities and support groups when it was made public on Thursday.

Charity campaigners have called the time served by the 60-year-old "woefully short" and said his release "beggars belief".

Meanwhile Worboys' ex-wife, Jean Clayton, told The Sun he should "never be let out".

Ms Cooper said Worboys' crimes were "the most appalling and vile" and there were "serious questions" over the Parole Board's decision.

"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."

John Worboys' cab (Metropolitan Police/PA)
John Worboys' cab (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Her intervention raises the prospect that senior members of the Parole Board could be hauled before MPs for a grilling over the decision.

In a statement on Thursday the Parole Board - which is independent of, but sponsored by, the Ministry of Justice - 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."

Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted: "We are placing huge trust in Parole Board assessments...I'm v surprised that #Worboys has been released on basis he's no longer a risk to women. Parole Board is notoriously "risk averse""

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Lawyer Harriet Wistrich said two victims had not been informed of the decision to release Worboys.

She told Channel 4 News the first they learned of the planned release was while "listening on the radio, cooking tea for the kids".

She said: "They've both said they're absolutely sick and disgusted and shocked to the core about it."

It is understood all those who were signed up to a victim contact scheme were informed as soon as the parole board decision was made.

However Labour MP Stella Creasy called on Justice Secretary David Lidington to investigate the alleged failure to notify victims.

She wrote on twitter: "If true that no notice of parole hearing given to the 100 victims then no chance to have their voices heard = no justice. Hope @DLidington will investigate if this is the case and show #VAWG (violence against women and girls) a priority across Government."

If true that no notice of parole hearing given to the 100 victims then no chance to have their voices heard = no justice. Hope @DLidington will investigate if this is the case and show #VAWG a priority across Government.

-- stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) January 4, 2018

Worboys, who became known as the "black cab rapist" was found guilty of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women passengers, in one case raping a woman.

But police said in 2010 that his alleged victims numbered 102 after more people came forward following his trial and conviction.

The allegations were investigated but no further action was taken on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), police said.

Sir Keir Starmer, who was then director of public prosecutions, has been urged to explain why further allegations against Worboys were not looked into.

Conservative MP Priti Patel told the Daily Mail: "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."

Sir Keir, now Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, has declined to comment. It is not yet known if he was directly involved in the CPS's decision not to pursue further allegations.

At the time a police spokesman said: "The difficulty is that a large number of the women do not know whether they were raped or not.

"The only person who knows is Worboys himself. We hope he might consider telling us in the future what went on."

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