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A serial rapist taunted police after his arrest, telling an officer: "If you had caught me for the first two, the rest of this wouldn’t have happened," a court heard.

Joseph McCann, 34, is accused of embarking on a two-week rampage of "violence and depravity," snatching victims off the street before sexually assaulting them.

Among his 11 victims were a 71-year-old woman snatched from a supermarket car park, a brother and sister aged 17 and 11 who were sexually assaulted in their own home, and a 21-year-old driven to her home at knifepoint and raped. John Price QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey yesterday that when McCann was arrested in May this year he told police some of his horrific crimes could have been prevented if he had been caught earlier.

McCann, described as a "skinhead," wore a wig while he raped his first victim, the court heard. The 21-year-old, who McCann allegedly forced into his car at knifepoint in the early hours of April 21 while she walked home from Pryzm nightclub in Watford, told police she was too frightened to stay at her flat after she was raped in her own bedroom. The mother-of-one said her attacker, who held a knife to her throat and said he had a gun, claimed his behaviour was "normal in the traveller community" as he shoved her on to her bed and raped her.

"He kept saying I was a beautiful girl, then he pushed me on to the bed and pulled my dress up," she said. "He was on top of me and I just froze."

The woman was able to hide some of her attacker’s DNA on a tissue which she threw into an empty bedroom – the DNA matched McCann’s, Mr Price said.

Following the attack the woman received a number of texts from McCann and then a phone call from a female who threatened her with violence if she contacted police, leading her to initially withdraw her complaint. "I had a phone call from a girl saying Joe was upset I wasn’t contacting him and that he apologised," she said.

"She asked me if police were involved. She said her family would come after me if I called the police."

The jury were shown footage of another of McCann’s alleged victims jumping out of a window while naked to escape his clutches, as her mother and 11-year-old brother remained trapped in their home.

The 17-year-old ran to her great-grandmother’s house in Haslingden, near Manchester, where she phoned police to plead with them to rescue her brother and mother, who had been tied up with an electrical flex.

In her terrified 999 call, which was played to the jury, she said: "He’s been doing stuff to me. He’s got a knife. He’s tied up my mum and he’s making me do things. Please come before he hurts my brother and my mum."

McCann, from Harrow, north London, was arrested hiding up a tree near Congleton, Cheshire, following the attacks from April 21 to May 5 in London, Lancashire, Manchester and Cheshire. He has not been in the dock or appeared via videolink from Belmarsh prison.

The trial continues.

Daily Mail