A taxi driver whose 12 year career saw him drug and violent hundreds of women has finally been arrested, after police repeatedly botched investigations, so allowing him an extra year’s reign of terror.
The man, London black cab driver John Worboys (51), used an uncomplicated modus operandi: he would dupe female passengers into thinking he was celebrating a major betting win, using a bag full of cash as a prop, and then to ply them with drinks, which he had laced with sedatives.
He is said to have exploited the relatively safe image black cabs enjoy to lull victims into a false sense of security.
Once the victim was out cold, he would clamber onto the backseat to have his way with them, in what have been called “frightening, degrading and humiliating attacks”; in some cases he even invaded his victim’s home.
He would sometimes target three women a night, and since he operated seven days a week police suspect hundreds of victims have yet to come forward; many never will, probably not remembering anything of the assault, but after pictures were circulated dozens did.
He also faces allegations of wife-beating and child abuse from his defunct marriage.
He was first arrested in 2007, but police bungled this and a subsequent investigation so badly that he was left free to continue his career of taxi-driving terror. One officer may face criminal misconduct charges after nobody bothered to send semen stained trousers for DNA analysis, which would have lead them immediately to him.
It is thought the bungling led to an additional 30 women being attacked.
Eighty-five victims have already come forward after he was finally arrested in 2008, but police estimate his victims lie in the region of 500. If so, this would make him the most prolific sex offender ever in the UK, and one of the most active the world has seen.
He has been charged with 19 counts relating to his activities with 12 women, with most offences relating to the unlawful administration of sedatives for the purpose of overpowering his victim. He faces a life sentence, and quite probably further charges; sentencing is in April.
When he was finally arrested, police found his trunk stuffed with money, drink and sex toys.