John Worboys victims in damages case setback

  • 25 June 2012
  • From the section London
John Worboys
Image caption Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009

Victims of black cab rapist John Worboys should not receive damages from his insurer, a judge has ruled.

John Worboys, 54, was convicted in 2009 of drugging and sexually assaulting women while working as a licensed London taxi driver.

Ten victims had asked the High Court to rule on whether insurers were liable for damages because Worboys' crimes were committed in his insured taxi.

But Mr Justice Silber has ruled against the women.

'Greatest sympathy'

He dismissed applications brought against Inceptum Insurance Company Limited on a preliminary issue of whether it was liable for compensation.

The judge expressed the "greatest sympathy" for the women "in the light of the horrifying experiences that they suffered at the hands of Worboys".

But he said his duty was to "follow the appropriate legal principles".

Edwin Glasgow QC, counsel for the women, had told the judge at a hearing in April: "The fundamental issue is whether personal injuries caused by a taxi driver's assaults on a passenger were 'caused by or arose out of the use of a vehicle on a road' for the purposes of compulsory insurance as required by the Road Traffic Act 1988.

"It is our submission that the use of the taxi and the part that it played in the attacks that occurred during the course of the journeys was essential and material.

"The taxi did not just happen to be at the place where the assaults occurred - it was the symbol of security which seduced these young women to believe they were safe."

'102 victims'

In his ruling, Mr Justice Silber found that the bodily injuries suffered by the women did not arise out of the use of Worboys' vehicle on a road or other public place within the meaning of the 1988 Act.

He found that Worboys' use of the vehicle at the material times was not a use insured by the policy issued by the insurers.

Worboys was jailed indefinitely after he was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women.

The number of victims could be as high as 102, police have said.

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