Serial rapist Joseph McCann guilty of sex attacks on 11 women and children

6 December 2019, 12:55 | Updated: 6 December 2019, 14:53

McCann was found guilty of all counts. He is pictured right at the at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford where he left two of his victims in a car outside
McCann was found guilty of all counts. He is pictured right at the at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford where he left two of his victims in a car outside. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Serial rapist Joseph McCann was found guilty today after he went on a two-week cocaine and vodka-fuelled rampage, targeting 11 women and children in a string of attacks.

He targeted 11 women across England in April and May. He was found guilty of all 37 counts relating to attacks on women and children, including rape, kidnap and false imprisonment by an Old Bailey jury this afternoon. He refused to attend his own trial.

He is facing spending the rest of his life behind bars after Mr Justice Edis told the court that 33 of the offences carried discretionary life sentences, which he was considering.

He was found guilty of seven counts of kidnap, ten of false imprisonment, seven rapes, one attempted kidnap, four sexual assaults, two counts of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, one rape of a child under 13, three counts of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of committing an offence with the intent of committing a sexual offence.

McCann changed his appearance and moved across five police force areas as he evaded police for 15 days despite telling his first victim his surname.

On his arrest, the violent offender, who had convictions for burglary, told police: "If you had caught me for the first two, the rest of this wouldn't have happened."

McCann, who had addresses in Aylesbury and Harrow, refused to attend his Old Bailey trial and his claim to have had consensual sex with some of his victims was dismissed as "ludicrous".

The Ministry of Justice has also launched an inquiry into why McCann was not recalled to prison after committing a burglary following his release from an indeterminate sentence for aggravated burglary.

Instead, McCann was automatically freed having served half of his sentence on February 15.

Jo Farrar, chief executive of HM Prisons and Probation Service, has "apologised unreservedly" for failings in the Joseph McCann case.

It is understood one Probation Service worker was demoted as a result of a review of four staff who had direct contact with McCann.

The court heard how two months after his release, in the early hours of April 21, McCann snatched a young woman from the street in Watford and raped her in her bed.

The woman reported the attack to police, McCann's details were put on the Police National Computer and a prison recall was issued.

But McCann remained at large and on April 25 he abducted a 25-year-woman as she walked home from work in Walthamstow and subjected her to a 14-hour rape ordeal.

Hours later, he was caught on CCTV bundling another young woman into his car in north London, as her sister ran off screaming.

The two captives escaped outside the Phoenix Lodge in Watford, after the 25-year-old woman hit McCann over the head with a vodka bottle.

She told jurors she was determined to survive and used her "logic" to seize her chance to incapacitate him.

The Metropolitan Police circulated a CCTV image of McCann at the Phoenix Hotel and received a tip-off with his name following a public appeal.

Earlier on May 5, McCann tricked his way into the home of a woman he met in a bar in Greater Manchester, tied her up and molested her children, aged 17 and 11.

The teenage girl, who described McCann as "evil", jumped out of a first floor window to alert police.

As McCann ran out after her, the 11-year-old boy cut his mother free, saying: "Mum, mum, we are safe. (My sister) saved us."

Later that day, McCann pounced on a 71-year-old woman loading shopping in her car outside a Morrisons supermarket.

He raped her and abducted and assaulted a 13-year-old girl in her car before they got away.

As police closed in, McCann forced two 14-year-old girls into the car by threatening to "chop them up" with a machete.

He was captured on CCTV buying condoms at a service station before he was spotted by a patrol car, which gave chase.

McCann drove the wrong way on a roundabout and crashed into a Mercedes before making off on foot, leaving the "terrified" girls behind.

Later, he was caught in a taxi at a police road block, but he ran off into a field, having changed into a wet T-shirt snatched from a clothes line.

A police helicopter finally located him up a tree, he was coaxed down and arrested early on May 6.

After the verdicts were returned, Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Goodwin said: “He’s clearly one of the most dangerous offenders I’ve ever come across in my career. He’s shown himself to be an absolutely manipulative and clearly highly dangerous individual throughout.

McCann pictured buying petrol and a pack of Durex condoms at a Shell garage with two 14-year-old girls abducted in a Fiat car outside
McCann pictured buying petrol and a pack of Durex condoms at a Shell garage with two 14-year-old girls abducted in a Fiat car outside. Picture: PA

“Someone who’s incredibly motivated to keep offending despite being on the most wanted people in the country at one point. He’s still continued to commit horrendous offences.

“We’ll never know quite what his motivation was for offences because he’s never spoken either to us or throughout the court process.

“He’s clearly somebody who is incredibly manipulative and controlling with no regard for the welfare or lives of his victims and somebody, I think, who is probably one of the most dangerous individuals that we’ve seen in this country in a long time.”

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