The driver of a black cab, who was convicted last week of sex attacks on a dozen women, is believed to be the most prolific sex attacker in Britain.

John Worboys, 51, a former stripper and porn actor, was found guilty of one rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and twelve charges of dragging women passengers in London, according to the Telegraph.

Eighty-five women told police that they were attacked by a taxi driver, but police believe he has attacked more than 500 during his 13-year career as a licensed taxi driver.

A senior detective told The Times: "The truth is we'll never know how many women Worboys attacked, but it could easily be hundreds and hundreds."

Worboys, from Rotherhithe, south east London, is due to be sentenced on April 21.

Hollywood taxicab tales

However, contrary to the Worboys case, in many movies in which taxis are involved, it is the taxi driver who is often the targeted party.

"Collateral" (2004), shows cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) as the means by which hitman Vincent (Tom Cruise) attempts to murder five innocent people on the streets of Los Angeles.

Vincent offers to pay Max double his normal nightly income if Max is willing to be his personal chauffeur.

Max reluctantly agrees, but later learns the real reason why Vincent has come to Los Angeles.

As Vincent kills his victims one by one, Max desparately tries to stop him in any way he can think of.

Taxi driver as hero

In "Taxi Driver" (1976) directed by Martin Scorsese, the taxi driver is also not the villain that Worboys turned out to be.

The film is set in the 1970s, a time when America was in chaos after the Vietnam War.

The protagonist, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is a lonely and a 26-year-old depressed man, who claims to have been honorably discharged by the Marine.

Suffering from insomnia, Bickle becomes a night-time taxi driver and roams the streets at night, which he discovers is full of 'the scum of society'.

He makes a plan to rid the city of all "prostitutes, pimps, junkies, niggers, homos and lesbians", but then he meets Iris (Jodie Foster), a 12-year-old child prostitute.

As time goes by, he becomes obsessed with saving this naive child-woman and finally decides to assassinate her pimp.

After killing Iris’s pimp, Bickle is considered to be some sort of hero and returns to his daily routine as a taxi driver.

Taxi driver as victim

Finally, the documentary film "Taxi to the dark side" (2007), shows an Afghan taxi driver, Dilawar, beaten to death by American soldiers whilst being held in custody in the extrajudicial detention centre at the Bagram Air Base.

The film places firm doubts on America's policy on torture and interrogation, specifically the CIA's use of torture and their research into sensory deprivation.

In the movies described above, taxi drivers are portrayed as victims of crimes and abuse, which has perhaps contributed to the nation's shock at hearing about the Worboys case.

But as is often the case, reality and make-belief are at odds.

In the real world, the taxi driver's reputation has been severely damaged and it might take a little longer before women willingly place their trust the taxi driver again.

Photo by Bo Kyung Park
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Taxicab: crime, heroism & Hollywood

By: Bo Kyung Park