CPS defends decisions on rapist John Worboys amid anger over handling of case

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has defended its handling of the black cab rapist John Worboys case amid criticism that further allegations against the attacker were not pursued.

The decision to release the 60-year-old nine years after he was jailed prompted anger from victims and questions around why not all of the 102 complainants had their cases brought to trial.

Worboys, a former stripper and adult film star, was found guilty of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women passengers, in one case raping a woman.

A day after his release was confirmed the CPS explained that it had charged Worboys with offences "where it was deemed there was a realistic prospect of conviction".

One woman who said she had a narrow escape from the sexual predator said police dismissed her when she told them of her ordeal in 2002.

In a comment piece for the i newspaper, Hannah Roberts said it was six years on before she was given the opportunity to identify him and make a statement.

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

Criticising the CPS, she said: "Many of the women who came forward to accuse Worboys were ignored or not believed by police at the time of their attacks.

"Now the same unheard women whose cases did not get to trial may feel slighted for a second time by suggestions that their cases did not meet the evidential test.

"The reality was that the police had accumulated a mountain of evidence that was not all needed for a successful outcome at trial and the CPS has to strike a balance between justice for victims and clogging up the courts for years."

The CPS said 83 women had reported allegations up to the point of conviction, and a further 19 afterwards, and the body had advised officers to refer any allegations of rape.

Bottles were seized from the boot of Warboys's taxi (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Bottles were seized from the boot of Warboys's taxi (Metropolitan Police/PA)

One file was submitted in relation to an allegation of sexual assault but it "did not pass the evidential test", the CPS statement added.

It said: "It would be unlikely that it would be in the public interest to prosecute Worboys in relation to allegations of sexual assault or administering a substance with intent, because of the maximum sentence available to the court."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed there is currently no live investigation into Worboys.

Sir Keir Starmer, who was director of public prosecutions at the time of the trial, did not have "any involvement in the decision making" the CPS said.

He has reiterated a call to anyone with concerns about allegations against Worboys that they believe may not have been looked into to contact police.

Chairman of the Parole Board Professor Nick Hardwick, who apologised after some victims were not contacted ahead of the announcement that Worboys is to be released, will be summoned before the House of Commons Justice Committee to explain how the decision for release was reached.

Read the statement from our Chair @neill_bob on the @Parole_Board Chair's statement on John Worboys' release: https://t.co/xTDGCUysMjpic.twitter.com/05C0Y51jg6

-- Justice Committee (@CommonsJustice) January 5, 2018

Chairman of the committee, Conservative MP Bob Neill, called for the Parole Board's processes to be made more transparent, saying it is "ridiculous that the current rules prevent the board making public the reasons for their decisions".

Prof Hardwick explained that the Parole Board has a "statutory duty" under its rules which "prevents disclosure of proceedings", and revealed he will be launching a public consultation on how decision making is shared with the public.

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