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Probation staff ‘repeatedly failed’ to recall rapist McCann to prison – report

Blunders saw him walk free from jail barely two months before he began his terrifying spree.


Serial sex attacker Joseph McCann (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Serial sex attacker Joseph McCann (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Serial sex attacker Joseph McCann (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Probation staff repeatedly failed to recall serial rapist Joseph McCann to prison despite concerns being raised by other professionals before he went on a sex attack spree, an official review has found.

McCann was handed 33 life sentences and jailed for a minimum term of 30 years in December for the string of attacks on 11 women and children.

Described by his sentencing judge as a “classic psychopath”, the 34-year-old convicted burglar had been freed after a probation service error two months before he embarked on the cocaine and vodka-fuelled rampage.

A review carried out by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and published on Thursday said: “The most significant practice failing was the repeated failure to recall Joseph McCann or to reflect critically on earlier decisions not to recall him, in the face of both court and prison staff communicating their concerns.

“From the point where McCann was arrested for burglary in 2017 to the point of his release, there were eight occasions where recall was considered or the recall decision was questioned.

“These all represented opportunities to recall.

“If the probation service had recalled McCann he would not have been released until the Parole Board was satisfied his release could be managed in the community.”

The findings have prompted the department to ask chief inspector of probation, Justin Russell, to carry out an independent review of the National Probation Service’s management of McCann and how the process of recalling offenders to prison is working.