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Cab driver jailed for sex attacks

21 April 09 15:12 GMT

A London taxi driver has been jailed indefinitely for drugging and sexually assaulting female passengers in the back of his black cab.

John Worboys, 51, from Rotherhithe, London, gave them drinks laced with sedatives, Croydon Crown Court heard.

He was convicted of one rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and 12 drugging charges committed from July 2007 to February 2008.

The former stripper will not be considered for parole for eight years.

'Exploiting trust'

Sentencing Mr Justice Penry-Davey told him: "Drivers of licensed black cabs have a worldwide reputation for their trustworthiness - you saw the opportunity of exploiting that trust and sexually abusing young women."

Worboys picked up his lone victims in London's West End and gave them champagne, claiming he had won large amounts of money on the lottery or at casinos.

But these drinks were mixed with sedatives and his victims were unable to prevent him assaulting them, the court heard.

Many women were left with little memory of their ordeals and could only recall falling asleep in the back of the vehicle before waking up at home.

Police discovered what they described as a "rape kit" - including gloves, alcohol, glasses, drugs, condoms and a sex toy - concealed in a plastic bag in another vehicle at his home.

A pre-sentence report described Worboys as a "repetitive predatory sexual offender" who showed a "significant degree of sexual deviance".

His barrister, Jeremy Gold QC, said Worboys was an "inadequate individual" who was not diagnosed with any mental disorder but who struggled to have successful relationships with women.

Worboys has continued to deny that he is guilty of the offences, despite his conviction, Mr Gold added.

The judge told Worboys: "As somebody with an enduring and powerful interest in sexual matters you saw an opportunity through cab driving."

He added: "You developed and perfected a web of deceit that was sufficient to ensnare young, intelligent and sensible women who had enjoyed a night out and whose only mistake, as it turned out, was to get into your cab late at night."

Worboys will not be released until a parole board decides he is no longer a threat to women, the judge added.

It was ordered that proceeds from the sale of Worboys' £5,000 cab, plus £3,680 found in a carrier bag when he was arrested, be shared among his 12 victims.

Worboys was cleared of a further two drugging charges.

Following his conviction last month, police said Worboys could be linked to 85 attacks in the London and Dorset areas dating back to 2002.

A further 11 potential victims have contacted them.

On Tuesday police said they would interview Worboys in prison in an attempt to clear up dozens of unsolved sex crimes.

During his trial it emerged that police in Plumstead, south east London, arrested Worboys in July 2007 over an attack on a 19-year-old student.

But he was released on bail and went on to commit the 14 offences for which he was convicted.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating why he was released.

Worboys was arrested for a second time last February.

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