Why was John Worboys granted parole? His victims need answers.

by Centre for Women's Justice

Why was John Worboys granted parole? His victims need answers.

by Centre for Women's Justice
Centre for Women's Justice
Case Owner
The Centre for Women's Justice is a charity committed to securing justice for women when men are violent towards them.
on 17th January 2018
pledged of £100,000 stretch target from 2549 pledges
Centre for Women's Justice
Case Owner
The Centre for Women's Justice is a charity committed to securing justice for women when men are violent towards them.

Latest: April 6, 2018

Thank you for your support!

We want to extend a huge thank you to all our supporters who enabled us to bring a successful challenge.  

We are keeping this page open for the next two weeks in case either of the Defendants or…

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Two of John Worboys’ 105 victims need your support to help find out why the parole board decided to release him - without a word of warning to the women he subjected to sexual abuse and rape over many years - so they can challenge the decision.  

Who are ‘DSD’ and ‘NBV’? 

By the time John Worboys was eventually apprehended and the case went to trial 83 cases had been linked.   DSD was one of his earliest known victims. He drugged and sexually assaulted her in early 2003.  NBV was drugged and sexually assaulted by him in 2007, his 75th known victim.  They both came forward to the police but were failed terribly by hopeless investigations leaving Worboys free to continue his campaign of attack.

DSD and NBV brought claims against the police relying on the Human Rights Act. Through their bravery and determination, they have established a groundbreaking enforceable legal duty on the police to conduct an effective investigation into allegations serious sexual offending. Despite losing in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and with the support of Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, the police appealed to the Supreme Court.  That case is currently awaiting judgment.

“I can’t watch the news or read the papers.  My heart freezes when I hear his name.  Seeing his face makes me feel unwell.  He’s ruining my life all over again” - NBV

The case

While they wait to see whether their victory against the police will be upheld by the Supreme Court, DSD and NBV have again been failed by the State, this time by the Parole Board which has directed that John Worboys be released.

This is a case about taking violence against women seriously and improving state accountability to ensure that victims are adequately protected.

Despite the fact that NBV gave evidence at trial and DSD was told that although her case would not form part of the indictment, the extent of his offending would be taken into account and he would not be coming out for a long time: neither woman was consulted about the parole process. The first they learnt about the decision was from the media.

They need to find out why John Worboys was granted parole.. But the Parole Board has rules in place preventing publication of reasons. DSD and NBV want to challenge those rules.  They also want to challenge the decision itself which they simply cannot comprehend given how dangerous John Worboys was a mere ten years ago and who continued to protest his innocence until a few years ago. 


“Since hearing the news I have been in a state of complete shock and panic. How can a prolific sex offender be rehabilitated in a short space of time when he has never admitted to his guilt or shown any remorse.” - DSD

How much is being raised and why

An initial amount of £10,000 is being raised to enable solicitor Harriet Wistrich, working with counsel to consider potential legal routes, send a letter before claim and begin raising funds for cost protection. 

However, after reaching the initial target they will continue to raise funds to cover future legal costs and further cost protection. If the claim fails the women will be liable to pay the Parole Board’s costs and potentially other interested parties including Warboys himself. They cannot bring the claim if they do not have the funds to cover this eventuality. 

If, at the end of the case, there are leftover funds they will be used to support other cases where women have suffered from violence and/or sexual assault.

Why is this case important? 

Harriet Wistrich, solicitor at Birnberg Pierce, (and also Director of the Centre for Women’s Justice) said: “This will be an unprecedented legal challenge. Where a decision appears to be so irrational, as it does in this case given all the known facts, there is an arguable basis to challenge the rules preventing publication of reasons.  If we get access to the reasons then we can explore grounds for challenging a decision which is so insulting and horrific for all the victims concerned.”

“In 2003 when I reported to them I had been raped I was told, "a black cab driver just wouldn’t do it”. I said at the time if they didn’t find him he would do it again. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would go on to do it again another 100 times, that we know of. Unfortunately, I do not share their confidence and I am convinced he will reoffend.’ - DSD

Please support this important challenge on behalf of Worboys' victims and all victims of sexual violence.

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Update 7

Centre for Women's Justice

April 6, 2018

Thank you for your support!

We want to extend a huge thank you to all our supporters who enabled us to bring a successful challenge.  

We are keeping this page open for the next two weeks in case either of the Defendants or John Radford/Worboys applies for permission to appeal the decision.  If they do not, we will close this page.

Update 6

Centre for Women's Justice

March 28, 2018

Historic judgment today!

The Parole Board decision to release John #Worboys has been quashed, and rule 25 of Parole Board rules is unlawful!

Your support made this possible - and not only will the decision to release be reviewed but the secrecy surrrounding Parole Board decisions will be a thing of the past. You helped change the law. 

We will provide a more detailed update later but for now this is an incredibly important decision and it's down to the extrordinary tenacity of DSD, NBV and exceptional advocacy of Harriet Wistrich, Phillippa Kaufmann QC and the rest of the legal team. 

Read a summary of the judgement from Phillippa Kaufmann QC at Matrix Chambers here: https://www.matrixlaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/DSD-explanatory-note-in-the-Worboys-case-27.3.18.pdf

Read the full judgement here: www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/dsd-nbv-v-parole-board-and-ors.pdf 

More later today...


Update 5

Centre for Women's Justice

Feb. 26, 2018

Judicial Review to be heard on 13 and 14 March at the Royal Courts of Justice

On 7 February 2018, the divisional court granted permission for the two claimants DSD and NBV to proceed with their judicial review of the parole board decision to release the serial sex attacker John Worboys.  Their lawyers have now been granted access to the parole board dossier and having now examined the contents, they have drafted new grounds in support of the challenge that the decision by the parole board was irrational.  They are also arguing that the parole board rules which prevent the publication of any reasons for a decision are contrary to the principle of open justice. The defendant in relation to the open justice challenge is the Secretary of State for Justice who is responsible for the rules. DSD and NBV have been joined in their legal challenge by the Mayor of London and in addition New Group are joined in the challenge only on the open justice grounds.  John Worboys, who has changed his name to John Radford, is an ‘interested person’ in the legal case and will be separately represented. 

Some of you may have read about the landmark Supreme Court case judgment last week in a linked case that started back in 2011 by the same two claimants, DSD and NBV. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43140827.  The case recognised that the two claimants were badly failed by the police when they originally reported the attacks on them by Worboys in 2003 and 2007.  As a consequence of those failures, when a subsequent investigation commenced leading to the eventual conviction of Worboys, at least 105 women who had reported attacks on them were linked with Worboys.. The Supreme Court has dismissed the police appeal and upheld the decisions of the lower courts to make clear that where there are ‘significant and egregious’ failures by the police of serious crimes of violence, the police have a duty under the Human Rights Act to conduct an effective investigation.

Since the parole board decision to release Worboys received publicity on January 4 of this year, several more women who had not previously reported Worboys have now come forward to report their allegations to the police.  What every victim of Worboys has said is that the nature of his deception and planning was such that they do not believe he can have suddenly transformed such that he no longer represents a danger to women.

Please continue to support DSD and NBV in bringing this judicial review challenge on behalf of all the victims of Worboys and women in general. Funds are needed to ensure that they are at no risk of adverse costs if they lose and to pay their legal team.

You can help by doing two quick things: 

1) Sharing the link to the CrowdJustice page on FaceBook

2) Emailing 10 of your friends and telling them about how important this case it

Update 4

Centre for Women's Justice

Jan. 28, 2018

We've won the first stage of the JR: a stay on release of Worboys

Thanks to your amazing support, we have won the very first stage of the Judicial review challenge by achieving a stay on the release of Worboys until an urgent half-day hearing that will be listed between 6 to 8 February.  

That hearing will determine whether we are granted permission to proceed with the full judicial review challenge and if so will give directions for the disclosure of the parole board dossier.  

Please continue to share the case page on social media and via email to your friends.

On Friday night Newsnight featured a brilliant interview with DSD, one of the two women bringing the judicial review – see here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09pwc6r/newsnight-26012018 .

You may have heard that the Mayor of London is also bringing a challenge, which we welcome – but that doesn’t mean we could withdraw because the perspective of the victims of Worboys – particularly the two women who have already had to challenge police failings – is particularly important. Furthermore, we are also challenging the Parole Board Rules which prevent any publication of the reasoning of the parole board, which in any event will help us better understand how such a seemingly wrong decision can have been made.

Thanks so much for your continued support. 

Update 3

Centre for Women's Justice

Jan. 25, 2018

Thanks to you we've issued a judicial review on behalf of 'DSD' and 'NBV'

So many thanks again from everyone involved in this case but particularly from DSD and NBV. 

Your incredible support has enabled us to issue a judicial review in the High Court. You can see the details below in the full press release. 

Please continue to support the case by sharing the case page on social media, emailing your friends and letting people know they can have a real-world impact on this issue that matters to so many people. 

As we've said before - if for some reason our JR is unsuccessful we will be using the funds to prosecute other cases in support of women who have been victims of violence, sexual assault and rape. 

In particular, we have been contacted by a number of Worboys' victims and we will be presenting a dossier of cases to the police and Crown Prosecution Service requesting they investigate further and prosecute. 

Press Release: 

On 25 January solicitors on behalf of two women who were raped and sexually assaulted by John Worboys issued a claim for judicial review against the Parole Board and the Secretary of State for Justice (SSJ) challenging the decision to release John Worboys (now known as John Radford) from prison.  The application includes a request for urgent consideration seeking a stay of the release of Worboys pending the outcome of the proceedings. 

The two Claimants are known as ‘DSD’ and ‘NBV’ from previous proceedings against the Metropolitan police arising from their failures to investigate their original reports of attacks by Worboys.  The Claim incorporates two grounds.  The first ground directed at both the SSJ and Parole Board argues that Rule 25 of the Parole Board rules which prohibits the publication of any reasons for a Parole Board decision is ‘ultra vires’ and therefore unlawful as it imposes a blanket ban on disclosure of reasons and thereby abrogates the fundamental principle of open justice.  The second ground argues that the Parole Board decision is irrational on the basis of all known facts including: the long history of cold calculated attacks on a large number of women; Worboys’ failure to acknowledge his guilt until, if at all, very recently; and the fact he has remained throughout his sentence in a high security prison without testing in open conditions, the Board having decided he was unsafe to transfer as recently as two years prior to the Parole Board decision to release him.

The two Claimants who were not informed of the decision to release Worboys nor consulted on licence conditions are convinced that Worboys remains a danger to women.  Their view is shared by many victims who have come forward recently, as well as the public at large.  The Claimants, who would much rather put this case behind them, consider they must do all they can to reduce the risk to other women and seek public accountability.  To ensure that they are not at any financial risk by bringing this claim a Crowd Justice campaign has been launched and an appeal for ongoing support is being made. Although other parties may also be launching challenges the perspective of victims is paramount in a case of this nature https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenge-worboys-release/

Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the Claimants has been contacted by a number of other victims of Worboys and she will be presenting a dossier of cases to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service  requesting they investigate further and prosecute.  The dossier includes two previously unreported cases from 2002 and 2003 and two cases that were investigated by the police that would pass the evidential threshold but have not been prosecuted.

Update 2

Centre for Women's Justice

Jan. 21, 2018

Incredible progress and why your support matters

First of all, an enormous thank you. We couldn't have made this progress without you. 

The two women bringing this claim have been greatly heartened by the generosity. Thousands of people coming together to support their challenge is spurring them to fight on for justice.  

Please take a moment to read and share the Sunday Times account by another one of Waorboys' victims as to why this challenge is so important: 


We are going to continue raising and have increased our goal to £100k to ensure that there is no cost risks to the two women bringing the claim. 

They could be made liable if they lose the case to pay the costs of (1) the Parole Board (2) the Ministry of Justice (who we may be challenging directly about the Parole Board Rules) and (3) John Worboys. We shall be seeking an interim relief that Worboys should not be released until after there has been a consideration of our application for judicial review, we may therefore need to provide an undertaking to pay damages to him if we lose for the loss of liberty.  

In addition we would like to raise sufficient funds to ensure that we can pay an expert legal team to work on the challenge on behalf of the two claimants.

As we say on the page, in the event that we raise more money than is required, the funds will be used to pay for similar legal challenges on behalf of victims of rape.

Update 1

Centre for Women's Justice

Jan. 17, 2018

Overwhelming support - let's get to £50k

Thanks to an incredible amount of support we have reached our first target of £10k in a matter of hours. We could never have hit this milestone without hundreds of people coming together to show that violence against women must be taken seriously and we have to improve accountability to ensure that victims are adequately protected.

But we need to make sure DSD and NBV, the brave victims raising their head above the parapet to bring this challenge, are protected from paying the costs of the Parole Board and other interested parties including Worboys himself. They won't be able to bring the challenge without this financial support.

Please help us getting to £50k by donating and sharing the link to this page.

Thank you so much for your support.

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