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'Classic psychopath' is jailed for life after 15-day rampage of sex attacks

By Emily PenninK

"Classic psychopath" Joseph McCann has been handed 33 life sentences and 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. Over 15 days, he abducted, raped and assaulted victims aged between 11 and 71 in Watford, London and England's north west.

McCann, who had addresses in Aylesbury and Harrow, refused to attend his Old Bailey trial and hid under a prison blanket rather than give evidence. It was claimed on his behalf 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.

On Monday, McCann failed to attend his sentencing at the Old Bailey, citing a "bad back". In his absence, Mr Justice Edis handed him 33 life sentences with a minimum term of 30 years, saying McCann was a "classic psychopath".

"This was a campaign of rape, violence and abduction of a kind which I have never seen or heard of before," he said, adding there should be an independent investigation into how the system "failed to protect" McCann's victims from him.

Mr Justice Edis said: "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."

He added: "You are entirely obsessed with yourself.

"In your world other people exist only for your pleasure and you have no ability to see the world in anybody's eyes other than your own. You are a classic psychopath."

The court heard he 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.

Since his release in February, McCann was seen by probation officers 10 times. The last was on April 19, three days before McCann committed his first rape.

The court heard how McCann snatched his first victim from the street in Watford and raped her in her own bed in the early hours of April 21. The woman named her attacker 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-old 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 with a vodka bottle.

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.

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."

Belfast Telegraph


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