Joseph McCann

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Met Police

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Joseph McCann was found guilty of 37 offences against 11 victims

A serial rapist who carried out a string of sex attacks on 11 women and children across England has been given 33 life sentences.

Joseph McCann’s victims were aged between 11 and 71 and included three women who were abducted off the street at knifepoint and repeatedly raped.

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

Mr Justice Edis said he had no doubt McCann, of Harrow, was “a threat to children and a paedophile”.

The judge also called for an “independent and systematic” investigation to be held as to why “the system failed to protect” McCann’s victims.

McCann, a convicted burglar, had been released from prison following a probation error in February before he embarked on a cocaine and vodka-fuelled rampage.

The 34-year-old’s “spree of sex attacks” started in Watford in April before he moved to London, Greater Manchester and Cheshire over a two-week period.

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Media captionJoseph McCann arrested up a tree in Cheshire

Sentencing McCann at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Edis described him as: “a coward, a violent bully and a paedophile”.

He added: “Four of your victims were under 15 at the time when you held them prisoner, three girls and one boy.

“Each of their stories is tragic.

“I hope that each will find a way to live through their ordeal and to future happiness.

“Although that is my hope, my expectation is that some, if not all of them, will never properly recover from what you did, and the psychological harm you have done will last for decades and may ruin their lives and those of the people who love them.”

Vodka bottle

On 21 April, McCann grabbed a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint as she walked home from a nightclub in Watford and took her to a house where he raped her.

Four days later, a 25-year-old woman was abducted as she walked home in Walthamstow, east London, just after midnight. She was then repeatedly raped in a number of locations over 14 hours.

Later the same day he snatched a 21-year-old woman in Edgware, north London, as she walked along the street with her sister.

The pair finally managed to escape when McCann drove to Watford, where he had booked a hotel room, and one of them hit him over the head with a vodka bottle before they fled to get help.

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Met Police

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McCann was filmed on CCTV at a Watford hotel where he had booked a room for two nights

In the early hours of 5 May, McCann tricked his way into the home of a woman he had met in a bar in Greater Manchester.

Once inside, he tied her to a bed and molested her 11-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter, who he told “you are going to Europe tomorrow, you are mine”.

The girl, who said she feared becoming a “sex slave”, managed to escape by jumping naked from a window, and she alerted police.

McCann then abducted and raped a 71-year-old woman and then sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl he had taken from the street.

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Media captionFootage shows dramatic Joseph McCann police chase

At about 18:30 on 5 May, McCann abducted two 14-year-old girls after threatening to “chop them up with a machete”.

He was finally caught in the early hours of 6 May.

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