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Joseph McCann went on rape rampage after being freed from prison by mistake

Britain’s most dangerous rapist Joseph McCann was wrongly freed from jail before attacking 37 women and children, sources have said.

He made the knife-point attacks during a two-week vodka and cocaine fuelled rampage in April.

McCann’s three-year determinate sentence did not take into account his earlier offending.

After spending 18 months inside he should have gone before a parole board hearing to be assessed,  because he was subject to the life sentence under the IPP.

But he was released without any meeting on February 15 this year because prison staff were not aware he had been jailed indefinitely in 2008.

The review is understood to have identified an error in the probation service failing to recall McCann when he committed the burglary and led to one member of staff being demoted, according to PA sources.

Chief executive of HM Prisons and Probation Service Dr Jo Farrar has ‘apologised unreservedly’ for failings in Mccann’s case.

It took just seven and a half minutes for the jury at the Old Bailey to find McCann guilty of all 37 counts against 11 women he preyed on across London, Hertfordshire and the North West.

In a statement CPS prosecutor Tetteth Turkson said: ‘Joseph McCann behaved with shocking depravity.

‘He preyed on women and young children with regard only for himself.

‘His victims endured horrifying acts of sexual violence and were subjected to a truly terrifying ordeal.

‘It was through persistence and bravery that some of them managed to escape.

‘They showed great strength of character in recounting their stories to police and giving evidence to the court – reliving some of what must have been the darkest moments of their lives.

‘It is with the power of this evidence, and the courage of the victims in giving evidence, that Joseph McCann has been convicted of his crimes.

‘I hope today’s verdicts provide some comfort to the victims and allows them to focus on moving on and rebuilding their lives.’

McCann, from Harrow, north-west London, refused to attend his trial but appeared by video link from prison.

It can now be reported that during the trial he ‘zoned out’ and cowered under a blanket on the floor of his cell rather than face jurors in court.

He instructed his barrister to insist on his behalf that the victims either consented to sex or that nothing happened at all.

However he failed to give his lawyer Jo Sidhu QC any evidence to back up his bizarre claims.

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