Court overturns decision to release 'black cab rapist' from prison

The Ministry of Justice has admitted responsibility for submitting an incomplete dossier to the Parole Board panel which chose to release the black cab rapist John Worboys.

In a letter to Justice Secretary David Gauke, released on Wednesday, he said: 'I want to state my concern about the independence of the board.

The former head of the Parole Board, who was yesterday forced to resign, says the Ministry of Justice should take some of the blame for the mistakes made over the case.

'We have said all along that Worboys is a manipulative and calculating individual who conned the Parole Board into granting his release.

"I accept that the Parole Board was wrong, but what I don't accept is that we were any more responsible than the Ministry of Justice, and I don't believe that the right lessons will be learned in this case if the only people accepting responsibility are the Parole Board", he added.

Last night Justice Secretary David Gauke told MPs he is probing whether mistakes have also been made by the bungling prison release service in those decisions.

He said: "The system hasn't worked for them and I acknowledge that and I apologise for that".

The High Court ruling found the board should have looked more closely at the alleged offences.

The scale of his crimes could be much larger, however; police believe Worboys attacked more than 100 victims between 2002 and 2008, after more women came forward with allegations.

"(At). that time it was correct.

Lawyers for the two unnamed women who brought the challenge argued during a hearing earlier this month that the Parole Board's decision to release Worboys, who now goes by the name John Radford, was "irrational".

The Parole Board said its "members make incredibly hard and complex decisions every day that can have a devastating impact on victims and the case of John Worboys is no different". On his watch the board cleared the long-standing backlog: dealing with 25,000 cases and holding over 7,000 oral hearings in 2017 while at the same time keeping the rate of serious further offending at less than 1%.

Mr Gauke added that he would be "putting in place robust procedures to check that every dossier sent by HMPPS to the Parole Board contains every necessary piece of evidence, including sentencing remarks or other relevant material from previous trials or other civil legal action".

"Our conclusion is that the open justice principle, or more particularly the right of the public to receive information which flows from the operation of that principle, applies to the proceedings of the Parole Board". Following the High Court ruling, Chair of the board Nick Hardwick has resigned. He championed increased engagement with victims.

'In order to strengthen the confidence of the public, victims and prisoners in its work, our submission to the parole review urges the government to establish the Parole Board as an independent legal tribunal and make improvements to the transparency and accountability of the parole system as a whole'.


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