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We won: Carrie Symonds, victim of black cab rapist John Worboys, tells of her relief after ruling that he must stay in jail

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 20/11/2018 Justin davenport
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A victim of the black cab rapist today declared “we won” after it was ruled he must stay in prison — as Justice Secretary David Gauke said he hoped new measures would prevent a repeat of the controversy.

Carrie Symonds, 30, spoke of her relief after a Parole Board decision to free John Worboys was reversed, saying: “His victims have finally been vindicated.”

She praised readers of the Standard who helped raise £70,000 to challenge the original ruling, saying: “The justice system and the parole board let us down very badly.

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"We knew he remained a danger to women and we knew we had to do all we could to prevent anyone else being drugged, assaulted and raped. And now — finally — we’ve been listened to and proven right.”

There was a public outcry in January when the Parole Board decided that Worboys was safe to be freed after about a decade behind bars.

Notorious black cab rapist John Worboys will stay in prison © AP Notorious black cab rapist John Worboys will stay in prison

He had been jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, after being convicted of 19 offences against 12 victims. Following his conviction, police said 100 women could have been attacked in London.

In March, the Parole Board’s release direction was quashed by the High Court after a legal challenge by two of his victims. As a result Worboys, 61, was kept behind bars until the case was reassessed by a new panel.

Yesterday, the review decided that Worboys should remain in prison because of his “sense of sexual entitlement”, a need to control women and his belief that rape was “acceptable”.

The new three-member panel reversed the original decision with a damning assessment that he was still a danger to the public.

Mr Gauke today said a new mechanism would give victims the right to challenge decisions of the Parole Board without the need for a judicial review. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are changing the system so there is now a reconsideration mechanism.

Justice Secretary David Gauke © Getty Justice Secretary David Gauke

“So, rather than having to go to a judicial review, what will be available to victims and, indeed, the Justice Secretary, will be an ability to get a decision reconsidered if there is something wrong with it, and that wasn’t the case before.

"So we are, I hope, drawing a line under that, so we don’t see a repeat of what happened with Worboys.”

Mr Gauke insisted that he had acted properly in the matter and defended his decision not to order a judicial review into the board’s original ruling.

Asked if Worboys should stay in jail for the rest of his life, Mr Gauke said: “That is a decision for the Parole Board. He has clearly committed very serious crimes and if there’s evidence that he is a continued risk, as appears to be the case here, then clearly he is someone who should not be freed.”

Worboys will be eligible for a further review within two years.

Ms Symonds, who has waived her anonymity to speak about her ordeal, was only 19 when she was targeted.

The former student was picked up at a bus stop in Fulham and drugged by Worboys in the back of his taxi. She says she cannot remember what happened next and only contacted police after reading in the Evening Standard about a taxi driver being arrested for spiking passengers with champagne.

After being horrified to hear of his release she helped raise the money for the fight to challenge the decision, saying victims had never challenged one before. She told the Standard: “But we won. I cannot begin to tell you what an incredible feeling that was.”


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