#childabductors | Freed by mistake… monster who went on a rape rampage | UK | News

CCTV of McCann in his two weeks on the run (Image: PA)

Joseph McCann, 34, was found guilty at the Old Bailey yesterday of 37 charges. He faces a whole life tariff when he is sentenced on Monday. 

He should have been assessed by experts but was automatically freed, despite a judge previously finding he was a “serious danger to the public”. 

Weeks later McCann targeted victims aged 11 to 71 – abducting them or attacking them in their homes in London, Watford and Greater Manchester. 

One probation officer was found guilty of gross misconduct and demoted after an investigation. 

McCann was released despite parole board officials refusing to release him on three earlier occasions because of the threat he posed. 

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “There must now be a full independent review into what led to these shocking failures.” 

Even though McCann had spent just 15 months of his adult life outside jail he was let out, despite prison officials intercepting a string of letters to a woman threatening rape and violence, a source said.

McCann is believed to have become increasingly unstable following the jail suicide of his brother Sean in 2016 and loss of contact with his children. 

He was caught on May 6 up a tree wearing a bandana after fleeing police on a child’s bike. He had been preparing to rape two 14-year-old girls. 

The serial rapist is caught on CCTV running away from police

The serial rapist is caught on CCTV running away from police (Image: PA)

McCann was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection in 2008 for aggravated burglary. 

He was deemed too dangerous to be released following three parole hearings before finally being let out on licence in 2017. 

He was arrested soon after and jailed for three years for burglary.

After 18 months he should have gone before a Parole Board panel. 

Instead, he was released without assessment on February 15 this year because staff at HMP Coldingley, Surrey, had not been alerted. 

On April 21 he began a rampage, abducting six women off the street and raping an 11-year-old boy in his own home. 

The father-of-two taunted police telling them: “If you caught me after the first two, this would not have happened.” 

McCann had a network of people across the country who were willing to hide him. Six suspects have been arrested and released under investigation on suspicion of harbouring the serial sex attacker. 

Police capture McCann in a tree before he could assault two girls

Police capture McCann in a tree before he could assault two girls (Image: PA)

He got his first conviction aged 13 for shoplifting in Manchester. The family then moved to Aylesbury, Bucks, where McCann graduated to petty theft, robbery and violence. 

He was jailed in 2007, aged 19, at Luton Crown Court for a string of offences including aggravated vehicle taking, robbery and affray. Judge Richard Foster described him as a “serious danger to the public”. 

McCann had led police on a car chase through Borehamwood, Herts, in January 2004. He was caught in March when he twice drove a Vauxhall Vectra at door staff outside a Blackpool nightclub. 

He was released in September 2007 but was back in jail by Christmas following the aggravated burglary.

In 2018 Luton Crown Court heard that he had broken into a house, stolen car keys and, along with an accomplice, driven off in two BMWs. 

Judge Richard Foster told him: “You will serve three years in custody… to run concurrently with your current sentence if you are recalled,” adding that his jail term should not be reduced because of “time served” in prison while on remand. 

It meant McCann should have been in jail until July this year. 

But time served on remand was counted as part of his sentence and McCann was released in February this year.

Joseph McCann and his brothers were among the first yobs to receive Asbos after stealing, setting fire to cars and threatening neighbours as children, it emerged yesterday. 

McCann was just 14 when he was given an Asbo along with brothers, Sean, then 16, and Michael, 12. 

The trio stole regularly and threatened anyone who got in their way on the Beswick estate in Manchester, according to neighbours. 

One local said: “They were a horrible family, absolutely vile.” 

The McCanns then linked up with their traveller relatives in Aylesbury, Bucks, moving to Wealdstone, north London, where former neighbours yesterday told how they lived in fear of the McCanns, who threatened anyone who challenged them.

“Joseph and his brother were always stealing cars,” said one. 

“They’d drive the cars around and then they’d burn them on our green.”

The McCann family are believed to have moved out of Wealdstone around six or seven years ago. 

A neighbour said: “I breathed a sigh of relief when they did. 

Evil Joseph McCann attacked 11 people

Evil Joseph McCann attacked 11 people (Image: PA)

“If you said anything to them they would threaten to beat you up.”

Vile rapist Joseph McCann’s wrong release had “shocking… life-changing consequences”, according to the former head of the Parole Board. 

The failures follow criticism over the handling of London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan and Black Cab rapist John Worboys. 

Former Justice Secretary David Gauke was forced into sweeping reforms of the Parole Board amid public fury over Worboys’ proposed release. Police fear he attacked more than 100 women, but only a court case brought forward by two of the victims kept him behind bars. Khan was sentenced to jail indefinitely after being involved in a cell plotting a bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange. But that judgement was quashed at the Court of Appeal and he was sentenced to 16 years instead. 

Referring to McCann’s release, Prof Nick Hardwick said: “There were shocking consequences, life-changing consequences. If the case had been referred back to the Parole Board, as it should have been, he wouldn’t have been re-released and those awful events wouldn’t have happened.” 

Jurors convicting Joseph McCann have publicly praised the bravery and courage of his victims. 

The panel at the Old Bailey trial took the unusual step of passing a note to trial judge Mr Justice Edis asking him to place on record their sentiments. 

Rapist John Worboys, 62

Black cab rapist John Worboys, 62 (Image: Getty Images)

The note said: “The jury want to acknowledge the bravery of all the victims in this case and the courage it has taken for them to come forward.” 

The judge said he would offer his own remarks when McCann is sentenced on Monday. 

It took the jurors five hours to consider the 37 charges against McCann, unanimously convicting him of each offence. The judge said: “You have demonstrated your sense of fairness by spending a whole day of court time in deliberation. It was a very strong case.”

McCann was again absent from court, as he had been throughout the trial, save for a couple of appearances without the jury being present. 

Meanwhile, it emerged that McCann adopted fake names and disguises in an effort to continue his spree of sex attacks. Hundreds of officers were deployed in the manhunt for the serial sex attacker over two weeks before he was finally found hiding in a tree and arrested early on May 6. 

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin said: “He was an incredibly difficult man to find throughout. 

“Normally when someone has committed an offence you expect him to hide, but he carried on offending. 

“It shows the kind of dangerous individual he is.”


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