You’ll mostly know Carrie Symonds’ name from the tirade of sexist press coverage she’s received for being Boris Johnson’s “friend”. But over the weekend, she also revealed herself as one of the women targeted – and possibly assaulted – by John Worboys.
Her story was first anonymously published in The Times in January, and Symonds gave the Sunday Times permission to republish it under her real name yesterday. According to her account, Worboys picked up the then 19-year-old after driving past her waiting for a night bus in 2007.
He offered her a free ride home as she only had £5 and proceeded to tell her about the money he had won at the casino. He asked her to celebrate with some champagne, which she promptly tipped onto the floor of the cab even though she didn’t think it was spiked. Later, he stopped the cab and disappeared for ten minutes under the guise of needing the toilet – Symonds now believes Worboys was using this time to give the drugs time to kick in. When he returned, Worboys gave her a shot of vodka and she can’t remember anything after that.
Carrie Symonds has been called many things over the past weeks, but choosing to reveal herself as a victim of Worboys and lobbying ministers to make sure he is put back in prison is nothing short of brave
It was only when she saw the story of Worboys’ arrest in the paper that she realised she was a victim of the so-called Black Cab Rapist. “I was one of nearly 100 girls who came forward to the police having read that report,” she wrote in The Times, “It is not an easy thing to go to the police and admit that you may have been drugged and assaulted. And yet still 100 women came forward.”
When Symonds wrote her story, Worboys had been released from prison after a Parole Board decided he was no longer a threat to society – he had spent just eight years of his indeterminate sentence in prison. Two months later, two of his victims were given permission to seek judicial review over his release and he is now back in prison.
During this time, Symonds lobbied ministers to overturn the Parole Board’s decision – a move that didn’t go down very well. According to reports, ministers became worried that she had grown “too close” to Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who – according to The Daily Mail – “knifed” the Justice Secretary, David Gauke, over Worboys’ release. Apparently, the backlash to Symonds’ lobbying is one factor that made her want to quit her job as communications director for the Tory party.
Carrie Symonds has been called many things over the past weeks, but choosing to reveal herself as a victim of Worboys and lobbying ministers to make sure he is put back in prison is nothing short of brave.