High Court quash the release of black cab rapist amid Parole Board concerns

High Court judges who overturned a decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys from prison said a number of “striking features” of his case “give rise to concern”.

They said his change of position from denial to admitting the sex attacks was a “dramatic volte face” which came after “at least six years of his adamantly maintaining his innocence and attempting to secure his release”.

Sir Brian Leveson, who announced the decision of the three judges on Wednesday, said the possibility that 60-year-old Worboys – now known as John Radford – was “not being open and honest with the professionals”, and the Parole Board panel itself, “fell to be considered”.

The judges set out their reasons in a lengthy written ruling quashing the Parole Board’s December decision to release Worboys, and remitting the case for a “fresh determination” before “a differently constituted” panel.

Sir Brian, Mr Justice Jay and Mr Justice Garnham ruled that the Parole Board should have “undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending”, particularly “the extent to which the limited way in which he has described his offending may undermine his overall credibility and reliability”.

They added: “This is so even in relation to the offences of which he was convicted, let alone any other offending.”

Sir Brian said: “Overall, the possibility exists that Mr Radford has provided what may be described as a carefully calibrated account, steering adroitly between admitting too much and too little, rather than one that is entirely open and forthcoming.”

While recognising it was a “difficult, troubling case with many exceptional features”, the court was “driven to conclude that, in the particular circumstances of this case, the Parole Board ought to have carried out, or have instigated the carrying out of, further inquiry”.

There was material which could have been used as a “means of probing and testing the honesty and veracity of Mr Radford’s account”.

Sir Brian said a key issue of the case, and one directly relevant to “Mr Radford’s continuing risk”, was “whether he was being open and honest”.

He said: “We must emphasise that we have not held, nor must we be understood as suggesting, that Mr Radford’s present risk is such that his continued imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public, or that the Parole Board should so find.

“Subject only to the review jurisdiction of this court, the assessment of all the available evidence, and all matters relevant to Mr Radford’s risk, is for the Parole Board alone to make.”

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