John Worboys victim launches legal challenge over release

Image source, Metropolitan Police
Image caption,
A crowdfund has been set up to cover the costs of a court battle to stop John Worboys being freed

A victim of rapist John Worboys has launched a legal challenge against the Parole Board's decision to release him from jail.

The woman says Worboys, who was convicted of offences against 12 women, is "ruining my life all over again".

A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise £10,000 towards the legal costs, supported by the Centre for Women's Justice (CWJ).

The Parole Board has previously said "correct procedures were followed".

The victim was drugged and sexually assaulted by Worboys in 2007.

A second woman involved in the legal challenge says the former black cab driver attacked her in 2003, although her complaints never reached court.

A "letter before claim", which has been sent to the Parole Board, says Worboys' "deeply entrenched, deliberate and carefully formulated" behaviour is unlikely to change.

It also questioned why the rapist was denied a move from high-security Category A Wakefield Prison, in West Yorkshire, to a lower security open prison in 2015 but has now been granted parole.

The first woman said: "My heart freezes when I hear his name. He's ruining my life all over again."

The second woman added: "Since hearing the news I have been in a state of complete shock and panic. I am convinced he will reoffend."

Media caption,
John Worboys' sentence is "an insult to his victims”, says Zac Goldsmith calling on the PM to back a judicial review

The letter also asks to push back Worboys' release pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

The £10,000 will only cover the initial costs of legal proceedings, and the women will raise more if the case develops.

Solicitor Harriet Wistrich, who is director of the CWJ, said it would be "an unprecedented legal challenge".

"On the basis of all the known facts in this case, the decision to release Worboys appears to be so irrational," she added.

"If we get access to the reasons then we can explore grounds for challenging a decision which has caused so much alarm and is horrific for all the victims concerned."

Image source, Metropolitan Police
Image caption,
Worboys drugged and assaulted women in his black cab

Worboys, 60, was given an indefinite sentence and ordered to serve at least eight years in jail in 2009.

Altogether, he has spent 10 years in custody including a period on remand.

Justice Secretary David Gauke has asked for legal advice on whether November's decision to free Worboys can be contested in a judicial review.

If a judge finds the Parole Board did not follow the correct process or reached its decision on the wrong basis, the move would be quashed and Worboys would have to make a fresh application for parole.

The Parole Board has previously said it was "confident" Worboys would not reoffend.

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