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Joseph McCann: 'I watched as net closed in on serial rapist'

By Mark Edwardson
BBC North West Tonight

media captionJoseph McCann arrested up a tree in Cheshire

Serial rapist Joseph McCann had spent two weeks on the run, kidnapping and sexually assaulting women across the country before finally being cornered in Cheshire. This is how it unfolded.

I'd spent a Sunday afternoon with family visiting our daughter in Liverpool on the day it all happened.

It was still daylight as we made our way back to our home town of Congleton, Cheshire, when we noticed the police helicopter circling above the town centre.

We'd seen it dozens of times and paid little more attention. But soon social media was buzzing with reports of a man armed with knife on the loose.

We decided to drive into the town to investigate and, after a while, came across a car that had crashed on a roundabout close to the fire station.

Before long it became clear police were closing in on serial rapist Joseph McCann.

media captionFootage shows dramatic Joseph McCann police chase

One person told us the crash had happened as McCann tried to escape after, unsuccessfully, trying to attack two women in the town centre.

He was now on foot and heading north.

It didn't take long to come across dozens of police, paramedics and firefighters in the Hulme Walfield district, to the north of the town centre.

Soon we were witnessing McCann's last stand.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionMcCann fled on foot after crashing a car into a Mercedes

He'd abandoned his car - and two would-be victims - before attempting to evade the net closing around him.

Jumping over garden hedges and fences, he had headed across country to a row of trees just off Smithy Lane.

Desperate to escape the huge manhunt, he then took refuge in the branches of a tree, believing he'd be safe. In fact, he'd cornered himself and was discovered helpless and cowering.

The police helicopter pinpointed his hideout and McCann was finally surrounded and arrested.

He was driven from the scene, shrouded from view by a blanket in a police vehicle.

Ten hours after arriving in Congleton and abducting two terrified victims, Britain's most wanted man was finally in custody.

Related Topics

  • Congleton
  • Cheshire
  • Watford

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  • Joseph McCann guilty of sex attacks on 11 women and children