The Black Cab Rapist: John Worboys | True Crime

(John Worboys aka John Derek Radford. Picture credit:

A lot of us rely on black cabs to take us to and from places especially if we've had a night out and had something to drink or if we've decided to leave the car at home because driving in a big city like London can be stressful. On the whole, black cabs are reliable, safe and thousands of people rely on them everyday and night. But from the summer of 2002 to late 2007, someone took what was a heavily relied upon and trusted service and used it to carry out his twisted, sick and depraved acts on defenceless women.

I'm talking of course about John Worboys (or as he likes to call himself these days John Derek Radford) otherwise known as ''The Black Cab Rapist''. John didn't murder anyone to our knowledge (thank goodness) but he still carried out a series of disgusting crimes which went undetected for over 5 years. 

Let me take you back a little bit to John's background to give you an idea of who he is. Before I begin, don't forget to follow me on Instagram at @KittysOnTheCase for my mini true crime blogs and check out my donations page incase you would like to buy me a coffee if you enjoy my content or would like to sign up for extra features and access to my personal blogs. Check the page out for the offers available and send an email to me at: if you have any questions.

I also have to add in here that some of the details shared in this post are quite disturbing.

Ok, so John Worboys was born in Enfield, England in June of 1975. Not much is known about his childhood other than he left school with hardly any qualifications and took odd jobs working as a milkman, security guard and a dairy manager. 

He was always someone who craved female attention and people who knew him described him as ''the perfect gentleman''. John was not a confrontational person, he was quite laid back and would open doors for ladies and give up his seat for them to sit down. He was of average appearance but some women would say he was attractive. It was his cheeky chappy personality that mostly attracted women to him, he could be the gentleman but tell a few jokes too.

When he was 30 he decided that he wanted to become a stripper and surprisingly he managed to make a successful career out of it for a short while. He wasn't your stereotypical stripper, he was slightly overweight and was more of a comedy act. He called himself ''The Minder'' after the character in the 80s UK TV series. He'd arrive dressed up as an old man before stripping off and making the women laugh with his terrible dancing and jokes.

John would make £1000 a week as a stripper and enjoyed the attention that it gave him. He would be at hen nights and birthday parties where a lot of the women had quite a bit to drink. John had a lot of one night stands with some of the women that attended these parties. He realised that he had more of a chance with women if they were drunk.

In 1991, John got married and the career as a stripper began to dry up and his attempt at a porn career had failed. He'd gotten more older looking and put on more weight and wasn't getting any bookings. By 1996 his marriage had broken down due to violence and his ex wife accused him of sexually assaulting her teenage daughter.

Not long after this time, John went on a date with a woman and she later said in interviews that he was the perfect gentleman on the first date and she admitted that she had slept with him. She felt that John had connected with her and because he was so nice with her, she went further with him which she said she would not normally do.

A little while after that John invited her to his place for a second date, he had bottles of wine ready and cooked her a delicious meal, she was really impressed. Not being a big drinker, she sipped her first glass of wine slowly but noticed as she was half way through the drink that she was feeling nauseous.

The next thing she remembers is waking up the next day, naked in John Worboys's bed feeling dreadful and wondering what had happened. She asked him and he laughed and told her that she had been drunk but she didn't buy it, she knew something wasn't right. She wasn't a big drinker and there's no way she would have gotten so drunk that she passed out and gotten to the point that she didn't remember where she was or what she was doing.

The lady went home on the bus feeling dirty, humiliated and angry. She felt that something terrible had happened, that he had spiked her drink but there was no way for her to prove it and what would she tell the police? Would they believe her? She decided not to take the matter further.

Having a failed marriage behind him, his days being a stripper and getting female attention now over, he came up with a plan that would give him access to vulnerable women regularly. He decided to begin a career as a black cab driver in London.

John had it all planned out that he would keep a bag in the front of his cab which was filled with bottles of alcohol, soft drinks, condoms, sex toys, plastic cups, Temazepam tablets (prescribed for sleeping problems but have been known to be used as a date-rape drug) as well as other over the counter medications. He also had a bundle of cash. 

His plan was to pick up women who were a bit tipsy after a night out and once they were in the cab he would ask them straight away their address (because he knew that they wouldn't be able to give him the address properly later as the drugs would've taken effect by then) and then tell them how pretty they were or how they seemed like a nice girl. He would tell the women that he had won the lottery and was upset that he had nobody to celebrate it with. He would pull out the stack of notes and show it to the women as if it was some kind of proof.

He would stop the cab and ask the women to have a quick drink with him and he'd pass them a plastic cup filled with wine or a soft drink. Not all the girls agreed to have a drink but some who felt sorry for him or were feeling tired or a bit worse for wear, accepted the drink.

A few minutes later the women would start to feel light headed and this is when John Worboys would get into the back of the cab. Some of the victims only remember getting into the cab, others remember him getting into the back beside them.

From the summer of 2002, John Worboys drove his black cab across London, picking up unsuspecting victims, sexually assaulting them and getting away with it because the women had no memory or proof of what had happened and some felt too embarrassed to go to the police. 

One of the victims later spoke of her trauma at the hands of John Worboys, she'd been out with some friends but hadn't drank any alcohol. When she got into his cab, she remembered him handing her a soft drink from a can that had been opened. She also mentioned that he'd told her he'd won the lottery. The next thing she remembers is feeling dizzy and John Worboys stopping the cab somewhere and getting into the back. She woke up at 2pm the next day feeling dreadful with a pile of voicemails from work colleagues wondering where she was. 

Unbeknown to this lady, John Worboys had let himself into her flat and woke up her boyfriend. He told him that she was drunk and could he come and get her out of the cab. She said that she can't be sure if she was assaulted or not as she can barely remember anything of that night but she did notice that she woke up with her tights and boots on. She also noticed that whatever drugs John had given her, she had had a reaction to and actually wet herself in the backseat. She believes this is what saved her from being raped. 

Unfortunately like many of the other victims, she felt that she couldn't go to the police.

In another incident, John drove one of his victims to the police station claiming that she was drunk. 

Towards the end of 2007, 2 girls had gotten into the back of John's cab. This time his plan didn't go the way he expected. After he dropped the first girl off, he asked the second girl to repeat her address and told her he'd won the lottery and offered her a drink.

This girl was a virgin and after a couple of sips of the drink she began to feel the effects of the drugs but for some reason she kept passing in and out and remembers flash backs to John Worboys being on top of her. 

She woke up the next day ill and remembered the flashbacks and knew something had really happened because she felt sore on certain parts of her body. John had the nerve to go to her house the next day and post an envelope containing money through her letterbox. The girl went to the police and they took the clothes she had been wearing that night (John Worboys's DNA had been found on her clothing) for DNA testing.

The police called in a specialist investigation team who launched an appeal for women to come forward and they were inundated with calls and information all leading back to John Worboys. 

 The police had finally started to link all of the attacks that had been happening across London to John. The police made many mistakes during the investigation including going to John's house and leaving when they couldn't get an answer and failing to search his cab and house because they figured he would have gotten rid of the evidence. John went to the police station the next day with his lawyer. 

When the police finally did search his house they found his rape kit which he would take out with him in his cab. They also found the plastic cups in a cupboard which still contained victims DNA as well as traces of drugs and a vibrator which had a victims DNA on.

The police held identity parades and 26 out of 60 women had identified John Worboys as their attacker. A total of 102 women came forward and the police believe there could be many more victims who either have no recollection of John Worboys or that they don't feel comfortable reporting what had happened to them. 

With so many woman from the ages of 18 to 34 reporting that they had been assaulted, the police had to choose the ones who had the most evidence and could possibly secure a conviction. They focused on the accounts of 14 women and 23 separate charges and went to court.

The trial lasted 8 weeks (John pleaded not guilty so that forced his victims to attend the trial and have to go through what happened to them again) and the 14 brave women told their stories. John tried to play the part of the innocent man and answered all of the questions put to him but he claimed the sex with all of the victims was consensual.

He couldn't beat the huge amount of evidence against him no matter how nice he tried to play himself off to be and he was found guilty on 19 counts and given an unlimited sentence with a minimum custodial term set at 8 years. Strangely he was cleared of two counts of spiking drinks.

On the 4th of January 2018, the UK was outraged when it was announced that John would be released from prison. It was a horrendous insult to the victims and there was public outcry. In November of 2018, it was announced that he was to remain in prison.

He has since been charged with four attacks on other women in May of 2019 which he confessed to. 

My thoughts...

I remember this case well and I remember seeing the brave women who had gone through such trauma supporting one another and speaking out about what had happened to them. John Worboys looked a pathetic figure and it's disgusting to think of the lengths that he went to so that he could abuse women. It's a really sickening case. 

I remember the sheer panic and outrage when there was the announcement that he was going to be released, luckily the survivors and the public pulled together and that decision was quashed.

It's frightening to think of the lengths that some people will go to just to harm others for their own satisfaction. I'm glad he's still in prison.

What are your thoughts on this case? Let me know in the comments below or come find me elsewhere on social media.

See you in the next post x

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