Worboys victims get payout ruling

Two women who were seriously sexually assaulted by London cabbie John Worboys will learn today whether they are a step nearer in their bid for compensation from the Metropolitan Police.

One of the women, identified only as DSD, was the first of Worboys' victims to make a complaint to the Met in 2003 - although a woman went to the City of London police the previous year - while the other, NBV, contacted them after she was attacked in July 2007.

In the intervening four years, Worboys, who was jailed for life in 2009, attacked 74 other women, Phillippa Kaufmann QC told the High Court in London in November.

DSD and NBV both want declarations that the Met has acted incompatibly with their rights under Articles 3 and 8 of the Human Rights Act - which relate to inhuman treatment and right to privacy - and damages.

DSD alleges that she suffered a depressive disorder as a result of her treatment by officers during the 2003 investigation.

Ms Kaufmann said: "She suffered great anxiety and distress believing that those around her believed she had lied about the incident. She questioned her sanity.

"In 2008 she suffered an adjustment disorder triggered in large part by the sense of guilt which overwhelmed her when she realised how many other women John Worboys had gone on to attack."

NBV claims she suffered serious distress, anxiety, guilt and an exacerbation of post traumatic disorder and depression as a result of her treatment by officers during 2007.

After the attack on NBV, Worboys was arrested but released and went on to attack a further 29 women before being re-arrested in February 2008 and prosecuted.

Ms Kaufmann told Mr Justice Green that there were five further complaints to the Met between the attacks on DSD and NBV and another three after the attack on NBV as well as an allegation of kerb crawling in 2006 which the police had linked to Worboys.

In total, it was believed that Worboys had committed about 105 offences over the period between 2002 and 2008.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) later looked at the the police investigation involving Worboys but only in relation to DSD and NBV, and its review left "an awful lot to be desired" in picking up the nature and extent of police failings, said counsel.

"From the outset in 2003 when DSD's case was investigated, it was characterised by grave failings with the result that a crucial opportunity to catch Worboys and stop him in his tracks was lost, before he went on to go and commit offences against 105 women who were at their most vulnerable, sitting in the back of his cab in the early hours, returning to their homes."

The five further complaints before 2007, with their similar accounts of assault by a black cab driver, were linked by a remarkably similar modus operandi, which was "peculiar and unique" in its method and an easy link to make if enquiries were properly made at the time, Ms Kaufmann said.

"Ultimately, we will show that in relation to investigations conducted into each complaint, they were flawed at the most fundamental level.

"The claimants and the rest of London's female population were ill-served".

Ms Kaufmann said that until it was understood why the women were failed so badly, it was impossible to begin to tackle and eradicate the causes of that failure.

"Until they are eradicated then the women of London are not going to have faith in the Metropolitan Police when they come with complaints that they have been subjected to sexual assaults."

Counsel said it was recognised that, since the Worboys case, the Met, which does not dispute there were many failings, had done a great deal to improve rape investigations in London.

Their lawyers said the contested hearing was not a "quasi public inquiry" but concerned narrow questions about the law in relation to investigative obligation under Article 3.

A decision in the case will be announced by a High Court judge in London.

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