In Brief

John Worboys release quashed as Parole Board head resigns

Nick Hardwick quits after High Court overturns release of black cab rapist

The chair of the Parole Board has resigned after High Court judges overturned a decision to release convicted rapist John Worboys from jail.

Nick Hardwick reportedly stepped down immediately after being told by Justice Secretary David Gauke that his position was “untenable”.

In his letter of resignation to Gauke, Hardwick said he was “sorry for the mistakes that were made in this case”. 

Worboys, 60, was convicted of one rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and 12 drugging charges in 2009, and police believe he may have committed more than 100 further rapes and assaults between 2002 and 2008.

In November last year, the Parole Board approved his release with “stringent licence conditions”, insisting its decision was based on appropriate evidence. 

But a legal challenge filed by two of his victims and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in January was today backed by the High Court, which said “further inquiry” was needed into the former taxi driver’s offences. 

The case will now be referred back to the Parole Board, according to the BBC.

Khan tweeted that the decision would bring “some reassurance to his victims and to all Londoners”.

Confirming that Hardwick had stood down, Gauke said: “I accept Professor Hardwick’s resignation and believe this is the correct decision in light of the serious failings outlined in today’s judgment. I would also like to express my appreciation for his committed service to the board and the contribution he has made to my department’s review of parole processes.”

However, according to the London Evening Standard, “today’s ruling will raise questions about the judgement of Gauke”, who decided not to join the victims and the mayor in challenging the Parole Board’s decision after receiving legal advice that they would be unlikely to win.

“That assessment has now turned out to be flawed and will bolster the criticisms of some Tory MPs who had called for Gauke to take legal action,” the newspaper says.

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