A HIGH COURT judge has ruled that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) breached the human rights of two women who accused black cab driver John Worboys of raping them.
The verdict was delivered by Mr Justice Green who criticised the MPS for its “systemic failings in the investigation of rape.
The High Court judge ruled the police had a legal duty to investigate rape and serious assault allegations and had been in breach of the Human Rights Act when it failed to take seriously the allegations made by the two women against the licensed taxi driver.
The victims told the police they had been raped by John Worboys but officers did not believe them and the black cab driver remained at large to rape other women.
Worboys was finally jailed for life in 2009 after he was found guilty of using drugs and alcohol to stupefy over 100 victims before sexually assaulting and raping them.
The two woman sued the Met under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, which relates to “inhuman or degrading treatment”. And the judge ruled that the MPS was liable to the women for its failure to investigate properly. Compensation damages will now be assessed.
Justice Green said: “In this case I have identified a series of systemic failings which went to the heart of the failure of the police to apprehend Worboys and cut short his five-to-six year spree of violent attacks.”
The first victim, referred to in court as DSD, was attacked in 2003 and was alleged to have been one of the first women to be raped by Worboys. The other claimant, NBV, was attacked in 2007.
Both women reported the attack to the police but neither were believed and Worboys wasn’t arrested until 2008
The judge disagreed with the findings of an internal MPS inquiry and a subsequent IPCC ruling that concluded that the; “The failings of the police would most likely not have led to Worboys’ earlier apprehension”.
Justice Green concluded that if it hadn’t been for the, “Myriad failings in the investigative process which occurred in the years preceding the assault, NBV would not have been raped at all.
“If a search had been carried out earlier, it is obvious that all of the rapes and assaults that were subsequently committed would have been prevented.”
Victim DSD, on hearing the judge’s ruling, said: “After 11 years of living with guilt I am now finally able to start to put it all behind me and move on with my life. I have always felt responsible for what happened to Worboys’ other victims but I now know this was not my fault.
“What I am now responsible for and extremely proud of is making the Met finally accept they have a duty towards the victims.”
The second victim said that not being believed by the police, “Was almost worse than the rape itself. It’s been unbearably hard to bring this case and spend years going over the same events. I am so relieved that our efforts have finally resulted in justice.”
Both women said they had experienced deep emotional trauma because of the sex attacks by the licensed London black cab driver.
DSD said she had suffered a “depressive disorder” as a result of her treatment by Met Police officers in 2003, while NBV claimed she had, “suffered serious distress, anxiety, guilt and an exacerbation of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression as a result of the conduct by the police in 2007.
Harriet Wistrich, a solicitor who acted for both the victims, said: “This judgment is a shocking indictment of everything that is wrong with the Met’s policing of rape. It reveals an abject failure at every level to translate sound policies into practice.
“It is scandalous that the only people to feel any responsibility to the scores of women who were raped by Worboys are the two claimants, who felt they must somehow be to blame because the police did not believe them.”
The Met’s legal team argued the force had no duty under the Human Rights Act to investigate rape properly. And that even if there was, the Act had not been breached.
An MPS spokesman said: “Our defence of these claims should not be taken as a reflection of any doubt upon the veracity of the claimants’ accounts as to their treatment by Worboys. Or any lack of understanding about the effects of rape on victims. Their accounts formed part of the criminal process and they, each with considerable courage, assisted the police in helping to bring Worboys to justice