The Justice Secretary has admitted responsibility for a decision which almost led to the release of black cab rapist John Worboys.
David Gauke decided not to challenge the Parole Board’s decision to allow the serial sex attacker to walk free from jail after he had served 10 years in prison.
There was widespread criticism when it emerged the panel had decided Worboys was safe to be freed – a move which was successfully blocked by two of his victims last month.
Three High Court judges upheld the legal challenge by the women and ordered the Parole Board to reconsider its decision.
Judges said the panel “should have undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending” and examined how “the limited way… he has described his offending may undermine his overall credibility and reliability”.
At the time, Mr Gauke said he stood by his decision not to challenge the Parole Board because the “victims succeeded in a different argument”.
But he has now said he shoulders blame for the row surrounding the attempts to grant parole to the convicted rapist.
“Clearly, things didn’t go as they should have gone,” he told The Sun on Sunday.
“Look, I made the decision. I accept responsibility, so I’m not hiding behind my advisers. It’s my responsibility entirely.”
He added: “We’re looking at all the rules. We must be sure with a particularly sensitive case we have people on the panel who can be sufficiently probing and ask tough questions.”
His comments come a week after Nick Hardwick, who quit as chairman of the Parole Board as the court announced its judgment in March, said the Ministry of Justice was also “at fault” for failures in the Worboys case.
“I don’t think the Secretary of State should resign. I do think the Secretary of State should, as I’ve done, accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made because that is the only way that things will be put right,” he told the BBC.
Mr Hardwick announced he was standing down after being told by Mr Gauke that his position was “untenable” in the wake of the High Court ruling.
Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009 with a minimum term of eight years after he was convicted for 19 offences – including rape, sexual assault and drugging – for attacks on 12 women.
However, police believe he committed crimes against as many as 105 women between 2002 and 2008, when he was caught.
The CPS decided not to overload the indictment against Worboys by prosecuting him for every attack.
Dozens of women were told the prosecution would be more powerful if the court heard only the strongest cases.
Mr Gauke said in March he would be instructing officials to issue new guidance that “all relevant evidence of past offending should be included in the dossier submitted to the Parole Board, including possibly police evidence”.
Parole Board rules will also be examined so victims can receive summaries of the decisions which have been made about offenders.
From – SkyNews