Joseph McCann carried out a string of sex attacks on 11 women and children across England barely two months after he was mistakenly released from prison on February 15 last year.

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Here we detail the timeline of his crimes and the missed opportunities to halt his sickened sex attack ramage.

  •  In the early hours of April 21, he snatched a 21-year-old woman from the street in Watford, drove her to a house and raped her. The woman reported the attack to police, McCann’s details were put on the Police National Computer and a prison recall was issued.
  •  But McCann remained at large and on April 25 he abducted a 25-year-old woman as she walked home in Walthamstow and subjected her to a 14-hour rape ordeal.
  •  He was still holding her captive when, hours later, he was caught on CCTV bundling another young woman aged 21 into his car in north London, as her sister ran off screaming. The two captives escaped outside a Watford hotel, where McCann had booked a room, after the 25-year-old woman hit McCann over the head with a vodka bottle.
  •  The Metropolitan Police circulated a CCTV image of McCann at the hotel and received a tip-off with his name following a public appeal.
  • On May 5, McCann tricked his way into the home of a woman he met in a bar in Haslingden, tied her up and molested her children, aged 17 and 11. The teenage girl, who described McCann as “evil”, jumped out of a first floor window to alert police. As McCann ran out after her, the 11-year-old cut his mother free, saying: “Mum, mum, we are safe. (My sister) saved us.”
  • Later that day, McCann pounced on a 71-year-old woman loading shopping in her car outside Morrisons' supermarket in Ramsbottom. He raped her and three hours later he also abducted and assaulted a 13-year-old girl in the same car before they both escaped.
  • As police closed in, McCann forced two 14-year-old girls into the car by threatening to “chop them up” with a machete.
  •  He was captured on CCTV buying condoms at a service station before he was spotted by a patrol car, which gave chase. McCann drove the wrong way on a roundabout and crashed into a Mercedes before making off on foot, leaving the “terrified” girls behind.
  •  Later, he was caught in a taxi at a police road block, but he ran off into a field, having changed into a wet T-shirt snatched from a clothes line. A police helicopter finally found him up a tree, he was coaxed down and arrested early on May 6.