John Worboys sex attack victims awarded compensation

John Worboys Image copyright PA
Image caption John Worboys was jailed in 2009

Two women who were the victims of serious sexual assaults committed by London taxi driver John Worboys have finally been awarded compensation.

The Metropolitan (Met) Police will pay out a total of £41,250 to the two women after serious failings were found in its investigation.

Mr Worboys committed more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults from 2002 to 2008 and was jailed for life in 2009.

The women claimed their treatment by police had caused mental suffering.

Met 'was liable'

One of the women, identified only as DSD, was the first of Mr Worboys' victims to make a complaint to the Met in 2003 and will receive compensation of £22,250.

The second woman, identified as NBV, contacted police after she was attacked in July 2007 and will receive £19,000.

Both women brought their claims against the Met under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment.

In November, Mr Justice Green at London's High Court ruled that the Met was liable for its failures in relation to the women's complaints.

DSD claimed she suffered a depressive disorder as a result of her treatment by police during the 2003 investigation and NBV said she suffered serious distress, anxiety, guilt and exacerbation of port-traumatic disorder and depression because of her treatment in 2007.

The judge gave the Met permission to appeal but said it had been agreed that the damages would not be recouped if the appeal succeeded.

"For the police force, wider issues are at stake but, at the same time, this enables DSD and NBV to move forward with their lives with greater financial security," the judge said.

The judge had previously identified a series of systemic failings at the root of the Met's failure to apprehend Worboys as well as several individual omissions in the investigation of the women's cases.

Principles 'tested'

Earlier he rejected arguments made for the Met that there was no justification for making a financial award because DSD and NBV had both received payments from their civil High Court claims against Worboys and from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

The two women received £10,000 net each from the Worboys action, while the CICA paid £13,500 to DSD and £2,000 to NBV.

The judge said that in assessing the amount of damages, he was focusing exclusively upon harm specifically attributable to the Met's failings and not to that attributable to Worboys.

The Met said its defence against compensation claims from the two women "should not be taken as a reflection of any doubt upon the veracity of the claimants' accounts as to their treatment by Worboys", but was instead based on "appropriate interpretation" of European human rights law.

"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 Met added.

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

The two women won their battle to receive compensation in February.

At the time, their solicitor, Harriet Wistrich, said the judgement was of "great significance" because it was the first in the High Court to find that such failings by the police "can give rise" to successful legal action.

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