Page last updated at 05:21 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Worboys victim 'not taken seriously'

The police watchdog has criticised officers for blunders in an investigation into a series of sex attacks by London black-cab driver John Worboys.

One of his victims was "Anna". She was assaulted in July 2007 - and her complaint is at the heart of the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation. She told BBC News that police failed to take her case seriously.

Anna reluctantly accepted a drink from Worboys after getting into his cab.

He claimed he had won some money and wanted her to have a drink with him to celebrate his good fortune.

Anna thought his insistence at sharing a drink was "completely innocent, although I found it strange that the taxi driver was drinking".

After taking some of the liquid she began to feel "very light-headed". Worboys then got into the back of the vehicle and forced a pill down her throat. She has no memory of what happened next.

I think that's the worst thing of all, that he could have been stopped in his tracks a long time ago
"Anna", victim of John Worboys

Anna woke up at home in bed with injuries to her knee and arm and then began to have flashbacks. She suspected something was "quite alarming" about her journey home.

After she called the police, she was visited by uniformed and specialist Metropolitan Police officers, but she felt they were not taking her seriously.

'Safest method'

"It was like they didn't believe that it was a licensed black Hackney carriage that I had got into.

"They were convinced within themselves that it was an unlicensed illegal minicab. And that was despite of the evidence of CCTV footage.

"I got into a licensed black taxi because that what's encouraged because it's the safest method. They encourage women who are going home by themselves to get a black cab. That is why I got it."

Anna said because police took six hours or more to arrive, she did not have a medical examination until the early hours of the next morning.

The police later contacted her to let her know Worboys had been arrested.

She said: "When they told me that, I did find it quite weird in the sense that they hadn't taken my statement.

"They had arrested him but they didn't really know what the full allegations were. So they interviewed and arrested him on nothing really. They just questioned him without the allegations."

'Felt disgusted'

She then learned that legal proceedings were not going to be taken against Worboys at that stage.

"I felt really disappointed because I knew that there were so many flaws in the way the police had handled my claim. They didn't take my statement for a good few days.

"They didn't collect the CCTV footage. They took hours and hours to respond. I was drugged obviously. They waited ages to take samples from me."

John Worboys
Worboys was found guilty in March 2009 of a series of sexual assaults

Anna said she found out about Worboys's subsequent arrest for attacks on other women through newspaper reports rather than from the police.

"I just knew that it was the same person. It was just too similar not to be. I felt quite disgusted and didn't want to believe it."

She said she was "startled" by what she read in the IPCC report.

"It was almost like reading something completely different to what had happened, simply because everything I was told, nothing matched up.

"So reading that made me feel more confident in what I tried to get across to the police, but it has also obviously made me feel quite upset in the sense that they could have stopped Worboys a very long time ago if the officers had actually done their job better."

'No faith'

A lot of other women would not have become victims had Worboys been halted after he attacked her, she said.

"I think that's the worst thing of all, that he could have been stopped in his tracks a long time ago.

"If they had just looked into the evidence. If they had just been willing to listen to the facts. Maybe if it was an illegal cab driver they would have taken things a lot more seriously."

As a result of her dealings with the police, her confidence in the force has been shattered.

She said: "I felt like I was the criminal. I certainly didn't feel like I was the victim at all, I certainly wasn't treated like one.

"It felt like I had to prove my case because they weren't willing to listen to me or to look into what I was saying.

"If I could avoid it I would avoid using or calling upon the police again. What has happened to me with the case over Worboys has left me with no faith in them at all."

The victim's name has been changed to protect her identity.



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SEE ALSO
Independent review of rape cases
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Cab driver jailed for sex attacks
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Worboys police were 'overworked'
06 Apr 09 |  London
New claims against rapist cabbie
16 Mar 09 |  London
Timeline: Sex crimes of taxi driver
13 Mar 09 |  London
Cab driver guilty of sex attacks
13 Mar 09 |  London

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