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'Serious questions' raised as victims were not told about release of 'black cab rapist'

John Worboys was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting several women.

john John Worboys Source: Metropolitan Police/PA Archive/PA Images

THE CHAIRMAN OF the Parole Board in England and Wales has said he is “very concerned” that victims of serial rapist John Worboys were not told of his imminent release from prison.

In a statement issued this morning, Professor Nick Hardwick said: “I am very concerned some victims were not told about the decision, this must have been very distressing. There are robust arrangements in place for victims to be informed through the Victim Contact Scheme.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper is among those to criticise Worboys’ release, saying it raises “very serious questions”.

Worboys, 60, was jailed in April 2009 after a jury convicted him of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting at least 12 women, including raping one of them.

Worboys, who became known as the ‘black cab rapist’, offered female passengers champagne spiked with sedatives to celebrate a fake lottery win, before attacking them.

He was handed an indeterminate prison sentence with a minimum term of eight years to be served before the parole board could approve his release.

Since he was jailed, police have linked him to more than 100 further rapes and sexual assaults after other alleged victims came forward.

In a statement, the Parole Board 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.”

One of his victims told Sky News: “I feel shaken up and very upset at the decision.”

‘Serious questions’ 

In a statement to Sky News, Cooper said: ”There are many serious questions why this dangerous man has been given parole after serving such a short sentence for his attacks against women.

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.”

In a series of tweets, Harwick acknowledged there is “a lack transparency of Parole Board processes”, adding that he has “recently set out options for change”.

“We currently have a statutory duty under the Parole Board Rules that prevents disclosure of proceedings … We will shortly be launching a public consultation about how we share our decision making with the public.”

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Órla Ryan

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