Page last updated at 20:11 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Sex charge cabbie admits to lying

John Worboys
Mr Worboys is accused of attacking 14 women

A taxi driver accused of drugging and sexually assaulting female passengers has admitted in court giving women champagne and lying to them.

John Worboys, 51, of Rotherhithe, south-east London, also admitted sexual activity with some customers but denied spiking their drinks.

He told Croydon Crown Court he made up stories about winning money at casinos as "banter" to engage their interest.

Mr Worboys denies 23 charges, including rape and sexual assault, on 14 women.

The black cab driver told the court he was a retired stripper who craved the attention of women after the death of his mother from cancer when he was a teenager.

I used to wait until I had a good 2,000 or 3,000 with me and I used to sort of make up a story
John Worboys, defendant

Speaking in his defence, Mr Worboys admitted he gave a false name - often his stripping stage name Terry - and invented details about his background, such as attending university, where he lived, and winning money at casinos, to aid conversation.

He told the court: "I used to wait until I had a good two or three thousand pounds with me and I used to sort of make up a story that I won money in the casino or lottery.

"I used to show it to them and ask if they would celebrate with me and have a drink, either champagne or wine, just to celebrate my winnings."

He said he would make the offer of a drink on his last job of the night so as to stay under the drink drive limit and "99%" of women accepted.

Asked if he had engaged in sexual activity with passengers in his cab he said yes, but told the court: "To my knowledge they have never been drugged.

"I just would not do that."

'Attention and cuddles'

Speaking about his "odd" behaviour, he told the jury: "I think it is due to my mum dying when I was young.

"I lost her when I was 13 and all my friends were getting attention and cuddles and stuff like that."

Prosecutors claim Mr Worboys spent 18 months preying on young women he picked up outside nightspots across central London in his black cab.

Mr Worboys told the court he picked up some women he feared would be targeted by illegal minicab drivers.

He described showing one such woman he picked up in Chelsea's King's Road a plastic bag full of cash he claimed to have won at a casino.

"To make a woman interested, it's no good just having 100 in there," he said.

They drank a miniature bottle of Tesco Champagne before he drove her home, he said.

However, Mr Worboys said she suddenly began swearing at him, adding that he could not understand why.

During another trip with another alleged victim, the 19-year-old had told him she was a "poor student".

Mr Worboys said: "I turned round and said 'you're a pretty poor student, have you considered glamour modelling'."

The case continues.

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