John Worboys victim forced to give evidence as rapist bids for shorter jail term

Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009 for offences against 12 women, who he picked up in his taxi.

Black cab rapist John Worboys
Black cab rapist John Worboys

Black cab rapist John Worboys has forced one of his victims to give evidence in court in a bid to avoid a life sentence.

Worboys, 62, was jailed indefinitely for the public protection with a minimum of eight years in 2009 for offences against 12 women, who he picked up in his taxi before plying them with spiked champagne so he could sexually assault them.

He had been expected to be in the dock at the Old Bailey to be jailed on Monday after admitting four more similar attacks on women dating back as early as 2000.

But Worboys, who now goes by the name John Derek Radford, claims the first offence occurred much later, and High Court judge Mrs Justice McGowan must make a ruling before sentencing him on November 4.

Court artist sketch of John Worboys
Court artist sketch of John Worboys, who now goes by the name John Derek Radford (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The decision could mean the difference between a life sentence and a much shorter prison term. This is because a longer period of offending could require a lengthier sentence.

Worboys, who is said to have a hernia, appeared in court by video-link from Wakefield Prison, wearing a blue shirt and glasses, and was at one point given a cup of tea by a guard.

The judge said the medical evidence “just about ticked the box”, but Worboys’s barrister Ali Bajwa QC said his client was “willing and ready to travel”, and it was the prison’s decision not to bring him to court.

Worboys spoke to confirm his name and nodded when asked if he could hear proceedings before his first victim gave evidence behind a screen.

She says she was attacked after she got into his cab when she left a wine bar in Dover Street, in Mayfair, in 2000 or 2001, while Worboys claims the incident happened much later, after January 1 2003.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she came forward after reading that Worboys was due to be released last year.

“I thought it was my duty really to give my statement. I thought that would just be it,” she said.

A fresh Parole Board hearing ruled that he should remain in prison, citing his “sense of sexual entitlement” and a need to control women, after an earlier decision that he should be set free was overturned.

Worboys’s victim was not questioned about the attack itself, which was outlined by Jonathan Polnay at an earlier hearing.

“He told her he had won money on the horses and was celebrating, and claimed he had been a stripper with the Chippendales,” he said.

“He offered champagne and invited her to celebrate. She agreed.

“This defendant pulled over on a side road off the A40 served an alcoholic drink in a plastic cup, which she drank. That is her last memory that evening.

“She woke up the next day, naked, with her clothes left in a trail on the way to her bed.”

John Worboys's taxi
John Worboys picked victims up in his taxi (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Mr Polnay earlier said the second victim was a university student in London in 2003 when she was targeted after leaving a nightclub on New Oxford Street in what was “an identical method not only to the first count but a number of previous convictions and allegations three and four”.

All the women made their allegations to police in early 2018.

The defendant, originally from Enfield, north London, pleaded guilty to two counts of administering a stupefying or overpowering drug with intent to commit rape or indecent assault.

He admitted two further charges of administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence under the Sexual Offences Act.

The court heard he will undergo an operation on his hernia, and he may still decide to give evidence before he is sentenced.

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