Black cab rapist John Worboys loses appeal against life sentence

The 63-year-old was jailed for life with a minimum term of six years at the Old Bailey in December 2019 for spiking the drinks of four women.

Black cab rapist John Worboys loses appeal against life sentence

Black cab rapist John Worboys has lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his sentence.

The 63-year-old predator, who now goes by the name John Radford, was jailed for life with a minimum term of six years at the Old Bailey in December 2019 after he admitted spiking the drinks of four women.

He was already behind bars at the time, having been locked up indefinitely for public protection with a minimum term of eight years in 2009, after he was found guilty of 19 sex offences against 12 women between 2006 and 2008.

At a hearing in London on Wednesday before the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and two other judges, his lawyers challenged his most recent sentence.

Joanne Cecil, representing Worboys, argued the judge who sentenced him in 2019 was wrong to impose a life sentence as he was already serving a sentence of imprisonment for public protection – which means he cannot be released until the Parole Board concludes he no longer poses a danger.

The barrister also said the six-year minimum term was “excessive”.

But, giving the court’s ruling, Lord Burnett rejected Worboys’ appeal bid.

The Royal Courts of Justice in central London (Nick Ansell/PA)
The Royal Courts of Justice in central London (Nick Ansell/PA)

Lord Burnett said there was “no error” in Mrs Justice McGowan’s approach to sentencing Worboys and that his minimum term was not excessive.

He also told the court the judge had concluded Worboys was still dangerous based on psychiatric and psychological evidence, including expert opinion that the ex-cabbie was lying about the “nature and extent” of his offending.

There was also evidence of Worboys’ “manipulative behaviour” in accepting he was guilty of the crimes he was convicted of, as well as the ones he admitted, “in part, at least, in an effort to accelerate his release”.

Worboys, wearing a blue jumper and glasses, appeared in court over a video link from prison to observe his appeal.

At one point during the hearing, his solicitor asked for Worboys to be given a “break, a glass of water or cup of tea”, adding: “He is an aging man with significant health issues.”

She also asked the court to ensure he was “feeling well and can fully understand and participate in this hearing” in a message sent through the court’s online video platform.

Police believe the former male stripper committed offences against more than 100 women before he was caught.

A Parole Board decision to release him was overturned by the High Court in March 2018 after two of his victims challenged the decision.

A different Parole Board panel concluded in November of that year that he should remain in prison, citing his “sense of sexual entitlement”.

As a result of the publicity, more victims came forward to report attacks dating back to 2000, meaning Worboys had been committing crimes up to six years longer than previously thought.

He was charged with further offences in May 2019 and admitted two counts of administering a drug with intent to commit rape or indecent assault, and two counts of administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Worboys, from Enfield, north London, became known as the black cab rapist after attacking victims in his hackney carriage.

In several of the incidents, he pretended to be celebrating a win on the horses, or the lottery, as a pretext to give his victims alcohol – which he had laced with drugs.

During his sentencing at the Old Bailey, the court heard he had admitted to a psychologist that he plied a total of 90 women with alcohol, and drugged a quarter of them, after being inspired by pornography.

Worboys told psychiatrists he had been “fantasising” about his crimes since 1986 and was motivated by “hostility towards women”.

A probation report in August 2019 found: “He is potentially just as dangerous now as the point of the first sentence.”

Sentencing him, Mrs Justice McGowan said: “I am satisfied to the required standard, on the evidence I have heard, that you are a continuing risk.

“I find you are currently dangerous. Your offending spans five years more than previously known.

“I do not know when, if ever, you will cease to be a risk. It will be for the Parole Board to decide in the future.”

The judge added that she was concerned about Worboys’ ability to “manipulate others” and his “failure to admit” the risk he posed.

In all, Worboys received two life sentences with minimum terms of six years for drugging women with intent plus six years in jail for two charges of administering a substance with intent.

All the sentences are to run concurrently.

Following his sentence, Tina Dempster, of the CPS, said: “John Worboys is a dangerous predator who still poses a clear threat to women.

“The CPS concluded it was clearly in the public interest to prosecute him again, when more victims came forward last year and revealed he had been assaulting women much earlier than he appeared prepared to accept, or to admit to the Parole Board.

“Worboys claims to show remorse and believes he deserves credit for these guilty pleas.

“But the fact is he did not accept responsibility for his first set of convictions until recently and, in a clear effort to minimise the extent of his crimes, continued to dispute victims’ accounts of the latest offences.

“I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of all women who came forward and today helped keep a prolific sex offender behind bars.”

Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer for Slater and Gordon who represented 11 of Worboys’ victims across both convictions, described Wednesday’s decision to uphold the life sentence as “absolutely the right one”.

He told the PA news agency: “However, it should be remembered that this life sentence only happened because victims of Worboys went to court to challenge the very foolish and naive decision of the Parole Board to release him – that shouldn’t have been necessary.

“The bravery of victims has ensured that the public have been protected from this evil man, but we still need to learn the lessons of this dreadful case and ensure that the mistakes in this case are never repeated.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News