THE METROPOLITAN POLICE Service (MPS) has lost a High Court appeal against a judgement which led to two woman – who were sexually assaulted by taxi pervert John Worboys – receiving £41,250 in compensation.
One woman, identified only as DSD, was the first of the black cab rapist’s victims to make a complaint to the MPS in 2003. The second victim, NBV, contacted the police after she was attacked in July 2007.
Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after carrying out a number of rapes and sexual assaults, using alcohol and drugs to render his victims unconscious.
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2010 ruled that the Plumstead CID team in South London had failed to handle the women’s two complaints in a satisfactory manner.
In 2013, the High Court ruled that the MPS was responsible to the victims in failing to investigate their complaints properly. And agreed payments of £22,250 and £19,000 to DSD and NBV respectively after they brought claims under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, which relates to the suffering of inhuman or degrading treatment.
DSD claimed she suffered from depression after her treatment by detectives in 2003, while NBV alleged she had suffered distress, anxiety, guilt, depression and several episodes of post-traumatic disorder.
In May of this year, MPS lawyer, Jeremy Johnson QC, told the Court of Appeal that the challenge was not intended to claw back the money from the victims, but was related entirely to points of principle.
“The law provides a “remedy for the claimants” but not one that was ordered by the High Court.”
Mr Johnson argued the law allowed for a civil damages claim, for payment from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and for the IPCC to allow for a complaint against the Metropolitan Police officers concerned.
However, he added: “The law does not allow for a right of action for damages for errors in an active police investigation.
Lord Justice Laws, Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson and Lord Justice Kitchin dismissed the appeal by the MPS and ruled: “It is inescapable that the High Court judge was right to find a violation of the Article 3 investigative duty and under the applicable legal principles, his conclusion on liability was inevitable.”