‘Serious suffering’ of rapist John Worboys’ victims acknowledged in court
Leading judges are hearing argument on behalf of the Parole Board during a High Court challenge brought by two women.
The Parole Board has acknowledged the “serious suffering” and “courage” of victims of black cab rapist John Worboys during a landmark High Court action brought in a bid to block his release from jail.
A lawyer representing the body told three leading judges in London that he wished to say something about the victims at the start of his submissions relating to the lawfulness of the board’s decision to free the serial sex attacker.
We are acutely conscious that underlying this forensic and analytical debate are stories of real and serious suffering on the part of the victims Ben Collins QC
As 60-year-old Worboys watched proceedings via video link from prison, Ben Collins QC said: “Can I just say this in relation to the victims at the outset of my submissions.
“We are acutely conscious that underlying this forensic and analytical debate are stories of real and serious suffering on the part of the victims.
“I wish to acknowledge that on behalf of the board at the outset, and also to acknowledge the courage of the victims in pursuing their claims.”
He added that “it seems to us to be important to do that” before making submissions on the victims’ challenge against the release decision.
Two women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, say something went “badly wrong” with the Parole Board’s decision, and that it was “irrational” and should be quashed.
They say the Parole Board should have taken into account “critical evidence” of “wider allegations” of offending against Worboys.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Mr Collins will submit to Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Garnham and Mr Justice Jay, that the board’s position is that the decision to release “was rational and lawful”.
Worboys, who now goes under the name John Radford, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 with a minimum term of eight years after being found guilty of 19 offences, including rape, sexual assault and drugging, committed against 12 victims.
He became known as the black cab rapist after attacking victims in his hackney carriage.
Police believe he committed crimes against 105 women between 2002 and 2008 when he was caught.
During the High Court action, which began on Tuesday, the court has heard that Worboys denies committing offences other than the ones he was convicted of.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and The Sun newspaper are also taking part in the legal action.
A temporary bar on Worboys’ release, initially imposed in January by the High Court, is continuing pending the outcome of the proceedings.
Worboys, who has served 10 years behind bars including remand time, is represented at the hearing by Edward Fitzgerald QC.
Mr Fitzgerald will argue that the Parole Board did not have to take the “unproven allegations” against Worboys into account when reaching its decision.