Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Cabbie 'drugged and raped women'

John Worboys
Mr Worboys attacked 14 women, jurors heard

A taxi driver drugged and sexually attacked 14 female passengers in less than two years, a court has heard.

John Worboys, 51, lured women into his cab by pretending he won the lottery and offered them cheap lifts home.

He dissolved sedatives in champagne to give to his victims before attacking them in the back of his cab, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Mr Worboys, from Rotherhithe, south-east London, denies 23 charges including rape and sexual assault.

'Powerless to resist'

He targeted single women in the West End, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Johannah Cutts QC said: "His primary intent had nothing to do with taking them home. His primary purpose was wholly sexual in nature.

"His intent was to ensure that they were completely at his mercy and then to sexually molest them."

The jury was told that he would tell passengers he had won a large amount of money either in the lottery or at a casino, sometimes showing his victims a carrier bag full of cash.

One of them remembers him actually having sexual intercourse with her and was powerless to resist

Prosecutor Johannah Cutts QC.

During the conversation, Mr Worboys would invite his victims to share a bottle of champagne and pour them a glass from the front of the cab, the court heard.

Miss Cutts said although some passengers did not want to drink, they felt it would be rude to refuse. Some just pretended, she added.

"In every case where the drink was consumed in any quantity, it had a powerful effect."

Mr Worboys would then get into the back of the cab and engage his victim in further conversation, this time of a sexual nature, as he watched the drug take effect.

Memories returned

Mr Worboys used sedatives to render his victims powerless and to make them forget, the court was told.

Most victims could not remember what happened until they got home, or in some cases until the next day, jurors were told. Many are not able to say whether they were sexually assaulted or not.

"Some of the complainants did come round a little in the cab having consumed the drink," said Miss Cutts.

"Those that did come round remember the defendant touching them sexually in some way. One of them remembers him actually having sexual intercourse with her and was powerless to resist."

Police identified the cab driver after one woman, who was driven from London Bridge to Twickenham on 5 February, contacted them with her concerns.

They linked her case to four other victims with remarkably similar stories and arrested Mr Worboys 10 days later.

He is also accused of administering a substance with intent.

The trial continues.

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