Victims of black cab rapist John Worboys crowdfund legal challenge against Parole Board over his release

Cara McGoogan
The decision to release John Worboys from jail has been widely criticised - PA

Victims of John Worboys have launched a legal challenge against the Parole Board's decision to release the "black cab rapist".

In the challenge, two victims said Worboys' release would put more women at risk. They want to compel the Parole Board to publish the reasons for the decision and attempt to stop it from going ahead. 

"This will be an unprecedented legal challenge," said Harriet Wistrich, a lawyer at Birnberg Pierce who is working with the victims. "Where a decision appears to be so irrational, as it does in this case given all the known facts, there is an arguable basis to challenge the rules preventing publication of reasons.  

"If we get access to the reasons then we can explore grounds for challenging a decision which is so insulting and horrific for all the victims concerned."

The legal challenge is being led by two victims, known as DSD and NBV, who said Worboys drugged and sexually assaulted them in 2003 and 2007 respectively. 

"In 2003 when I reported to them I had been raped I was told, 'a black cab driver just wouldn’t do it'," said DSD. "I said at the time if they didn’t find him he would do it again. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would go on to do it again another 100 times, that we know of.

"Unfortunately, I do not share their confidence and I am convinced he will reoffend."

Since hearing the news I have been in a state of complete shock and panic

DSD, John Worboys victim

NBV and DSD have separately brought a claim against the police under the Human Rights Act that looks at how sexual assault is investigated and is awaiting judgement from the Supreme Court.

Neither woman was told about Worboys' parole, a problem that has sparked anger among victims and supporters. DSD and NBV hope the challenge will push the state should be more accountable to victims and that violence against women needs to be taken more seriously. 

"Since hearing the news I have been in a state of complete shock and panic," said DSD. "How can a prolific sex offender be rehabilitated in a short space of time when he has never admitted to his guilt or shown any remorse." 

Worboys was convicted for one rape and five sexual assaults in 2009 and sentenced to an "indeterminate" prison sentence with a minimum of eight years. He was accused of using his position as a taxi driver, as well as a "rape kit", to drug and assault victims. 

The former black cab driver is believed to have attacked far more women, with some estimating more than 100 women could have been victims.

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which is supporting the challenge, 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."

My heart freezes when I hear his name.  Seeing his face makes me feel unwell. He’s ruining my life all over again

NBV, John Worboys victim

The victims are crowdfunding an initial £10,000 to pay the fees of drawing up the complaint, but will need to raise significantly more money if they are to proceed. If the case goes through but the Parole Board wins they could have to foot its legal expenses. 

The news has taken an emotional toll on the victims. "I can’t watch the news or read the papers," said NBV. "My heart freezes when I hear his name.  Seeing his face makes me feel unwell. He’s ruining my life all over again."

It comes after the Parole Board admitted it cannot guarantee the public's safety following Worboys' release. A senior prison source has also said Worboys will "remain a danger to the public". 

The Ministry of Justice is seeking a legal review of the Parole Board's decision and the Government has said it is doing "everything we can" to overturn it.