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'Serial rapist' facing 37 charges 'told officer': 'If you had caught me for the first two, the rest of this wouldn’t have happened'

Bill Gardner
Joseph McCann - REX

A serial rapist accused of assaulting several women and children during a rampage across the country told police he could have been caught earlier, a court has heard.

Joseph McCann said if he had been arrested after his "first two" victims, several more would have been spared, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

Instead McCann, 34, allegedly went on to attack 11 people in total including a 71-year-old woman and a young boy over two weeks in April and May. He faces multiple charges of rape, kidnap and false imprisonment.

McCann’s alleged victims include two young children who were raped while their mother was tied up in the next room. Several were snatched off the street and bundled into his car, it is said, while a woman aged 71 was seized in a Morrison’s supermarket car park.

Jurors heard today how McCann was arrested after a "standoff" with police in Congleton, Cheshire on May 5, and taken to London for questioning.

John Price QC, prosecuting, said: "Though he refused to be interviewed after he arrived in London, Joseph McCann did say something of relevance to an officer involved in accompanying him on that journey. He told DC Foxwell, 'If you had caught me for the first two, the rest of this wouldn’t have happened'."

Jurors were today shown distressing CCTV footage showing a seventeen-year-old girl allegedly escaping McCann by jumping naked from her first floor window, fracturing her heel.

By that time she had already been raped by McCann along with her eleven-year-old brother while their mother was tied to a bed in the next room with electrical cable, prosecutors said.

The teenager then made a frantic 999 call, part of which was played to the court. Sobbing, the girl told the operator: "He’s been keeping us hostage."

McCann left the house and carried out a string of further attacks on women and girls throughout the day, the court heard.

Later that afternoon amid "intense police activity" he was allegedly spotted driving a black Fiat Punto belonging to a 71-year-old woman he had seized from a supermarket car park.

Two 14-year-old girls snatched from the street were also inside the vehicle. Shortly beforehand McCann had stopped at a garage to buy condoms, jurors were told.

Dashcam footage from a pursuing police car  showed McCann allegedly swerving the wrong way through a roundabout, crashing into another car before driving into a maze of residential streets where he is said to have escaped.

He was caught later that evening when a police officer spotted him in the back of a taxi, the jury heard.

When asked to lift up his T-shirt to display a distinctive tattoo McCann allegedly replied "You’re not f-----g seeing," before running off and escaping into nearby fields.

A police helicopter later spotted him hiding up a tree, and after a long "standoff" with police he climbed down and was arrested.

McCann denies 37 charges including the rape of a child under 13, kidnap, and sexual assault concerning 11 alleged victims.

The trial continues.