London

Met Police appeal over payout ruling in John Worboys rape case

John Worboys Image copyright PA
Image caption John Worboys was jailed for life in 2009 after committing more than 100 rapes

The Met Police have challenged a ruling that led to two victims of a rapist being awarded more than £40,000 over failings in its inquiry.

The women were sexually assaulted by London taxi driver John Worboys and claimed their treatment by police caused mental suffering.

At the Court of Appeal, the Met argued it was not a pre-determined right the women should have received damages

Worboys was jailed for life in 2009 after committing more than 100 rapes.

Speaking at the Court of Appeal, the Met's counsel Jeremy Johnson QC said the challenge related to points of principle and should not detract from the bravery of the women, who would keep their damages whatever the outcome.

'Drugged and abused'

The hearing follows a 2013 High Court ruling the Met was liable to the women - known as DSD and NBV - for failures in its investigation under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment.

DSD, the first of Worboys' victims to make a complaint to the police, alleged she suffered a depressive disorder as a result of her treatment by officers during the 2003 investigation and was awarded £22,250.

While NBV, who contacted them in July 2007, claimed she suffered serious distress, anxiety, guilt and an exacerbation of post-traumatic disorder and depression because of her treatment by police. She was awarded £19,000.

Mr Johnson told the hearing: "These women were attacked by a serial predatory sex offender. Each was drugged and sexually abused. Each took the courageous step, which most of the victims didn't, of reporting the matter to the police.

"In each case, my clients accept they [DSD and NBV] were let down in that there were steps which could and should have been taken to investigate what happened to them, which were not taken."

'Testing legal boundaries'

Mr Johnson said the law allowed for a civil damages action against a sex attacker like Worboys, compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the making of a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission which, in this case, resulted in officers being sanctioned.

However, the law did not allow a right of action for damages for errors in a police investigation.

The judges are expected to reserve their decision at the end of the hearing

In November 2013, Mr Justice Green at London's High Court ruled the Met was liable for its failures in relation to the women's complaints, but agreed it could appeal.

He said the "case has raised important arguments regarding the boundaries of police responsibility and liability and we believed that it was important for these principles to be tested before the courts".

The force has previously apologised for mistakes it made in the investigation.

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