After being violated by their attackers, survivors of rape and sexual assault should be able to turn to the people who have sworn to protect the public, but sadly, that’s not always the case.
Over the span of 6 years, victims of a serial rapist tried repeatedly to report their attacks to the police. Rather than getting help, many were brushed off and some were even laughed at. As if that wasn’t bad enough, those victims have been put through hell yet again just a few years after they thought they were finally safe…
The First Police Report
In 2002, a woman from London turned to the police after a strange experience in 1 of the city’s famous black cabs. According to the woman, she hailed a cab, climbed inside, and was greeted by a friendly driver. However, that’s the last normal thing to happen.
The Last Memory
The woman woke up in her home with no recollection of how she got there. The last thing she clearly could remember was chatting politely with the cab driver, which was especially strange since she wasn’t drunk at the time so there was no reason for her to have no memory of such a large chunk of time…
14 More Victims
Rather than thoroughly investigate the report, police brushed the woman off. Over the next 6 years, about 14 other women contacted local police stations around London to report similar experiences of hazy memories after getting into a black cab.
While some women told police they mysteriously couldn’t remember what happened, others told police they couldn’t remember everything after getting into a black cab, but had clear memories of the driver sexually assaulting them before waking up at home…
Despite the numerous similarities between more than a dozen reports, the police failed to link the cases. Not only did the police fail to make such an obvious connection in the cases, but officers actually laughed at several of the victims, calling them drug addicts and drunks, so they wouldn’t take the claims seriously.
The First Investigation
Eventually, however, police from a station in Plumstead, southeast London, listened to a 19-year-old girl in July 2007 after she came into the station and claimed she had been attacked by a black cab driver. Instead of laughing at her and turning her away, the police took her claims seriously and actually investigated them…
Police managed to track down the driver of the black cab, a man named John Worboys, and arrested him on suspicion of raping the 19-year-old girl. While back at the police station in Plumstead, Worboys denied that he raped the young woman.
Caught On Camera
Worboys told police that the 19-year-old was drunk at the time and kissed him. According to Worboys, he believed he had her consent. Investigators found security footage from the area where Worboys dropped the teenager off and released the driver when they saw the girl kiss him as she left the cab…
Another Victim Files A Report
A few months later, a 26-year-old woman came to a London police station and made a complaint about a black cab driver who drugged her and raped her. Police took the victim seriously, but they ruled out Worboys as a suspect since a DNA sample didn’t match Worboy’s.
Too Much To Ignore
About a month later in January 2008, a 29-year-old insurance broker contacted the Essex Police with another similar report. Then about a month later, a lawyer filed a report with police about being raped by a cab driver. At that point, police couldn’t ignore what was happening to innocent women around the city anymore…
A Serial Rapist
After 6 years, police finally linked the reports of a black cab driver targeting lone, female passengers between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. After going over all the reports, police realized they were dealing with a serial rapist and made a public request for anyone with information related to the attacker or the attacks
Answering The Appeal
A staff member at a sexual referral unit heard the police’s appeal and instantly thought about the 19-year-old girl who claimed she was raped by her cab driver in 2007, as the details of that case seemed to line up with details of the other attacks…
John Worboys’ Arrest
After replying to the police’s appeal, investigators tracked Worboys down at his home in Rotherhithe, a residential district in south east London, where they arrested the black cab driver, who worked as a milkman, a security guard, a stripper, and a porn actor before becoming a taxi driver in London.
The Evidence Piles Up
While searching for evidence, police found what they called Worboys’ ‘rape kit’ in his car. It contained miniature champagne bottles, gloves, a torch, vibrators, condoms, sleeping tablets, and an ashtray to crush the pills. They also found a wristband that belonged to 1 of the victims in Worboys’ home, DNA evidence from another victim on the vibrator, and another victim’s home address written in his notebook. Later, police matched Worboys’ DNA to a semen stain on 1 victim’s underwear…
According to police, Worboys would pick women up late at night and tell that that he had just won a large sum of money. After holding up a large bag of money as proof, he would give them a mini bottle of champagne to celebrate, which most would drink to be polite. What the victims didn’t know, was that Worboys had laced the champagne with temazepam, a sleeping drug he had stockpiled after being prescribed it for years for his own sleeping issues. When the women were sedated, Worboys would rape them.
When Worboys went to trial in March 2009, 14 victims testified against him as he faced 23 charges, all of which he plead not guilty to. However, on March 13, he was convicted of 1 count of rape, 5 sexual assaults, 1 attempted assault, and 12 drugging charges…
Worboys received an indeterminate sentence with a minimum term of 8 years in prison, which meant he had to serve at least 8 years but would not be released until it could be determined without a doubt that he was no longer a threat to women. This was not just a win to the handful of women who reported their attacks, but it was also a win for the other 100 victims that came forward before and after the trial.
9 Years Later
The victims had to go through hell just to get justice, however, the system failed them yet again after it was announced that a parole board determined Worboys, now 60 years old, will be released from prison this year after 2 psychologists hired by Worboys’ defense claimed he wasn’t a threat to women if released because he never took responsibility for the attacks or showed empathy for the victims, which are the very things almost all other experts say prove he is very likely to be a repeat offender…
Challenging The Board
“Since 4 January, I have felt frozen in shock, disgusted and traumatised by the thought that Worboys could be on the streets so soon,” said 1 of Worboys’ victims, who came together with another victim to challenge the parole board’s decision in court. Thankfully, a 3-judge High Court panel agreed with the victims and ruled Worboy should remain in prison. The judges claimed the board didn’t do enough to prove he wasn’t a threat to women and didn’t consider the overwhelming amount of new attacks he is suspected of committing.
The ruling was a huge relief to all of Worboys’ victims, however, he plans on applying for parole again in May 2018. “I always feared he would go before the board again but this feels far too soon,” a victim said. “It feels far too soon for this dangerous and manipulative perpetrator to be released into the public having served this woefully short time in prison,” Yvonne Traynor, from Rape Crisis South London, added. “He may be free to live amongst us but the women he raped will never be totally free from his despicable actions.”