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'Evil' serial rapist Joseph McCann sentenced over depraved attacks on women and children

'Evil' serial rapist Joseph McCann sentenced over depraved attacks on women and children

Serial rapist Joseph McCann has been sentenced to 33 life sentences with a minimum term of 30 years for a string of horrific sex attacks on 11 women and children.

Convicted burglar McCann, 34, had been freed after a probation service error, two months before he embarked on a cocaine and vodka-fuelled rampage.

Sentencing McCann at the Old Bailey on Monday, Mr Justice Edis branded him a “classic psychopath” and called for an investigation into how he was mistakenly released early from prison.

McCann’s spree of horrific attacks started in Watford in April, before moving to London, Greater Manchester and Cheshire over the following two weeks.

McCann, from Harrow, north-west London, raped eight victims including a 71-year-old woman and a boy aged just 11.

The boy and his sister were attacked in front of each other in their own home after McCann tricked their mother into letting him enter.

He was found guilty of 37 offences at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Sentencing McCann at the Old Bailey on Monday, Mr Justice Edis branded him a 'classic psychopath'. (PA)

On Monday, McCann failed to attend his sentencing at the Old Bailey, citing a “bad back”.

In his absence, Mr Justice Edis said: “This was a campaign of rape, violence and abduction of a kind which I have never seen or heard of before.”

He added: “Joseph McCann, you are very dangerous indeed to people who are weaker than you are.

“Among other things you are a coward and violent bully and a paedophile.

“You are a classic psychopath.”

McCann allegedly used a “support network” across the country to evade police, despite being identified as a suspect on the day of his first attack.

McCann refused to attend his trial and hid under a prison blanket rather than give evidence.

It was claimed on his behalf that the women he was accused of molesting had consensual sex, but that was dismissed as “ludicrous” by victims.

On Friday, the jury deliberated for five hours to find him guilty of 37 charges relating to 11 victims, including eight rapes, false imprisonment and kidnap.

A CCTV screengrab issued by the Metropolitan Police shows Joseph McCann (bottom right) using a drive-thru at McDonald's on 25 April 25 while his alleged victim was in his car. (PA)

McCann’s spree began the early hours of 21 April, when he snatched a young woman in Watford and raped her.

The woman named her attacker to police, and McCann’s details were put on the Police National Computer and a prison recall was issued.

But he remained at large and on 25 April he abducted a 25-year-woman 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.

They escaped in Watford after the 25-year-old hit McCann over the head with a vodka bottle.

The Metropolitan Police circulated a CCTV image of McCann in Watford and received a tip-off with his name following a public appeal.

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.

Later that day, McCann pounced on a 71-year-old woman. 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.

McCann at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on the afternoon of 25 April while two women, his alleged victims, were in his car outside. (PA)

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.

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

The violent offender later told police: “If you had caught me for the first two, the rest of this wouldn’t have happened.”

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Paying tribute to the victims, the judge said: “Each of these stories is tragic. I hope each will find a way to live through their ordeal and future happiness.”

The court heard that McCann had a string of convictions in the North West and South East of England, having received his first term behind bars at the age of 15.

While he had no convictions for sexual offences, he did have a “history of violence and threats towards partners of his”, prosecutor John Price QC said.

Following the verdicts, the Probation Service issued an “unreserved” apology for a blunder that led to McCann’s release in February, halfway through a three-year sentence for burglary.

Four men and two women have been arrested on suspicion of assisting McCann and released under investigation.

CPS lawyer Tetteh Turkson said: “The court heard today the impact McCann’s brutal campaign of rape has had, and will continue to have, on his victims. He is a dangerous man who has shown no remorse for his cruel and sickening actions.

“He has now been given a life sentence and will serve 30 years before being considered for release. Our hope is that the victims in this case, all of whom have shown immense bravery, are now able to move on with their lives following these truly horrendous crimes.”