Worboys Judicial review: statement from Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for ‘DSD’ and ‘NBV’, two of Worboys’ victims

We note the Secretary of State’s decision not to proceed with a judicial review of the Parole Board decision.

We can confirm that in the absence of any unexpected and compelling response from the Parole Board to our pre action correspondence, we intend to launch judicial review proceedings against the Parole Board next week.

On 16 January 2017, Birnberg Peirce sent a letter before claim to the Parole Board threatening judicial review proceedings on two grounds:

  1. That the Parole Board Rules are unlawful insofar as they create a blanket policy preventing the publication of any reasons for a decision.  In this exceptional case, there is an over-riding public interest in understanding the basis for a decision which has caused such widespread concern amongst he very many victims and public at large.


  1. That the decision to release Worboys at this time in the light of all the known facts surrounding his offence and reports of his progression in prison appears to be wholly irrational.


The Parole Board have said that they will be responding to our letter by 4pm today.  In the absence of a wholly compelling explanation for the decision, we intend to proceed with this challenge and lodge judicial review proceedings next week.

The decision by the Secretary of State does not weaken our case at this stage.  Firstly, because the Parole Board is the MoJ’s creation and he cannot therefore challenge his own rules.  He has not given reasons for the negative advice received but it is possible that this is because one or more of the contributors to the parole board dossier that supported the decision to release may have been prison staff who are employed by the MoJ.

The two women bringing the claim are doing so as they are convinced that Worboys remains a danger to women and that everything should be done to stop his imminent release.   They bring this case in the wider public interest. They have launched a crowdfunding campaign and would be grateful for any contribution to ensure that they will not become liable for costs in the event that this important challenge fails.


For further information:

DSD was raped by Worboys in 2003 and reported to the police immediately.  NBV was attacked in 2007 and also reported immediately. The subsequently brought a human rights claim against the police for their abject failures in the original investigations.  The court has found in their favour, although police appealed to the Supreme Court and a decision is still awaited. NBV was a complainant in the criminal trial and Worboys was convicted of offences against her.  DSD was told that her case passed the evidential threshold but they did not need her to provide evidence as the CPS did not wish to overload the indictment.  Both women were assured that Worboys would not be released for a very long time.  Neither women were contacted about the parole process and the first they learnt of the decision to release him was on 4th January 2018, when this was reported in the media.

Harriet Wistrich