Newspaper headlines: 'Outcry' as taxi rapist given parole

John Worboys Image copyright Metropolitan Police

The decision to release sex offender John Worboys is the lead story for most papers, with the front page headline in the Daily Express highlighting the "outrage" of his victims and commentators at the Parole Board.

Many papers use their editorials to make clear their astonishment at the decision to release the "black cab rapist", who was jailed in 2009.

"If ever a sex monster deserved to rot in jail for life, it was John Worboys. Yet shamefully and incredibly he is out after eight years," the Sun's leader says.

His sentence was" criminally short", according to the Daily Mirror.

For the Daily Mail, the case "raises questions for every level of the justice system" and victims "deserve answers".

A Ministry of Justice source tells the Daily Telegraph of their "deep concerns" that he is being released from a category A jail without being moved to an open prison first, while an unnamed minister says: "This could erode faith in the Parole Board and its decisions".

In the i, the blogger known as the "secret barrister" suggests people's anger is in part because they are confusing the scores of offences the police believe Worboys committed with the much lower number he was actually convicted of.

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A crackdown proposed by MPs on disposable coffee cups is met with approval by several papers.

A levy on them is "long overdue" according to the Times, which points to the success of a similar charge on plastic bags.

Image copyright PA

What worked with bags should work with cups, too, the Times says.

The Daily Mail says it is "wary of new taxes" but appears willing to make an exception for the so-called "latte levy." The paper suggests it would provide coffee chains with every incentive to develop a solution to the "ballooning mountain of coffee cup waste".

The Financial Times reports that a number of hedge funds have amassed bets worth hundreds of millions of pounds against some of the largest UK retailers in anticipation of downbeat Christmas trading updates this month.

Some of funds reaped a "significant windfall", the FT says, after the Debenhams share price collapsed in response to its poor sales over the festive period.

'Stretched military'

Elsewhere, the Financial Times says ministers are planning to split a national security and defence review in two.

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It says Westminster and defence industry officials have said the plan is for the security elements to be published as soon as possible while decisions on the armed forces will be "pushed back until much later in the year".

The paper says the move follows a backlash partly involving the new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson to the prospect of any cuts that would undermine the "already stretched military". The government says it will not comment on speculation.

A leader of Britain's freemasons has been moved to write to the Guardian and the Times to reject previously reported claims that his organisation had prevented reform in the police.

Rather than blocking the advance of women and ethnic minorities, as was alleged, Dr David Staples said the reality was that masons themselves are "now quite openly discriminated against".

Church on time

Finally, the Daily Express and Daily Mail are among the papers to report the £100 charge being levied by a vicar in Kent on brides who are late to the altar.

Canon John Corbyn, of St Mary's, in the village of Thurnham, gets couples to hand over a cheque for that amount prior to the service.

If the bride arrives within 10 minutes of the allotted time they get it back along with their marriage certificate.

"It seems reasonable to me," Canon Corbyn tells the Express.

He also points out that having introduced the system, the "vast majority" of services now run to schedule.