‘Night Bus beast’ serial sex offender who was able to continue terrorising women due to a series of police blunders could walk free from jail after parole hearing
- Kirk Reid, 58, could be freed despite him likely having more than 100 victims
- Reid, then 44, was convicted in 2009 of 26 indecent assaults and two rapes
- He was given life term and ordered to serve a minimum of seven and a half years
A serial sex attacker dubbed the Night Bus Beast who was allowed to continue terrorising women because of a series of police blunders has a parole hearing and could be freed.
The case of Kirk Reid, now 58, alongside Black Cab Rapist John Worboys exposed systemic failings within the Metropolitan Police that allowed them to remain at large despite plenty of opportunities to catch them.
Like Worboys, Reid is thought to have been responsible for many more sex attacks than those he was convicted of – with the total of victims likely to be more than 100.
Reid, then 44, was convicted in 2009 of 26 indecent assaults and two rapes after targeting lone female passengers over a 23-year period.
He was given a life term and ordered to serve a minimum of seven-and-a-half years behind bars.
Kirk Reid, dubbed the Night Bus Beast, who was allowed to continue terrorising women because of a series of police blunders has a parole hearing and could be freed
He was given a life term and ordered to serve a minimum of seven-and-a-half years behind bars. After the verdict at Kingston Crown Court (pictured), the Met was heavily criticised for its earlier investigation into serious sex assaults across south-east London on public transport
After the verdict at Kingston Crown Court, the Met was heavily criticised for its earlier investigation into serious sex assaults across south-east London on public transport that had identified Reid as a suspect.
The chef had been identified as a suspect for a series of sex attacks in 2004 and crossed the police radar at least 12 times, but no one pursued inquiries into him.
John Yates, assistant commissioner of the Met and the national police spokesman on rape and sexual assault, acknowledged there had been errors in the case.
‘Nothing can adequately excuse the failure to follow up straightforward lines of inquiry that should have seen Reid arrested at that time ,’ said Yates, writing in the Guardian in March 2009.
Senior figures in the Met acknowledged it was facing a ‘MacPherson’ moment, over its rape and sex crime investigations, referring to the criticism that engulfed the Yard after the racist killing of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
Mr Yates wrote: ‘We need … to reinvent our response in the way that we did in relation to homicide after the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence.’
The case of Black Cab Rapist John Worboys (pictured) also exposed systematic failings within the Metropolitan Police that allowed him to remain at large despite plenty of opportunities to catch him
The details of how officers missed at least 12 chances to stop Reid came within weeks of the Worboys case
He said that although there were examples of good police work across the country into rape allegations, there were ‘too many and significant inconsistencies in the investigative response at every level’, not just in London but across England and Wales.
‘Rape cases simply do not get the attention they deserve,’ he conceded.
The judge in the Reid case accused the Met of ‘inadequately’ investigating the serial attacks in south London for which Reid was responsible.
Reid, who was an amateur referee of women’s football matches, struck in south London in the early hours, targeting women walking home alone or on public transport.
He was only brought to justice when the investigation was passed in January 2008 to an experienced detective from within the homicide and serious crime command.
After eight years of failings, the detective took just hours to identify Reid as a key suspect and within five days he had matched his DNA to two indecent assaults from 2001 and a rape a year later.
An internal Met Police review of the Reid case identified a ‘number of concerns in the standard of investigations’.
Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner in 2009, said efforts were being made to ‘learn lessons’ and send a message to women that the force could be trusted.
But he said: ‘Will this instantly solve the public confidence problem? No, of course not. Clearly we are very concerned.’
In October 2021, it was revealed that Reid had been transferred to an open prison after an earlier parole hearing.
The move means the rapist enjoys minimal security measures and the chance to work outside and possible home visits.
The transfer to the lowest category jail is normally a precursor to a prisoner being released on licence.
Mail Online has been told Reid’s new parole hearing will take place in May 2023.
A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ‘We can confirm the parole review of Kirk Reid has been referred to the Parole Board by the Secretary of State for Justice and is following standard processes.
One of Reid’s early victims, Candice Marsh, was told of her shock at the catalogue of police blunders that left him free to roam the streets
Candice Marsh, pictured, was one of Reid’s victims. She was attacked by the football coach in December 2001
‘A hearing is expected to take place in May 2023 with a decision shortly after the hearing.
‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
‘A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.
The decision to move Reid to an open prison in 2021 was controversial.
A summary of the Parole Board decision said: ‘The benefits of open conditions outweigh the risk of causing serious harm to the public.’
The board said one expert found Reid was safe to be moved, but added: ‘Some other witnesses advised that he was not yet ready to cope with open conditions.’
The details of how officers missed at least 12 chances to stop Reid came within weeks of the Worboys case.
The black-cab rapist was able to continue his rapes and sexual assaults on hundreds of women in the capital for years partly because police did not believe his victims.
He was convicted in March 2009 at Croydon Court of one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and 12 drugging charges, committed from July 2007 to February 2008.
Worboys was jailed indefinitely and told he must serve a minimum of eight years.
He was granted parole after serving eight years but the decision was overturned after judges ruled the full extent of his offending had not been considered.
In the case of Reid in 2021, the Parole Board said it had examined all of the allegations he faced.
It said: ‘In this context, the panel considered very carefully how to reach a fair and robust risk assessment.’
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