Joseph McCann arrested and investigated over series of rapes and abductions

Fugitive Joseph McCann has been arrested over the abduction of two 14-year-old girls and is being investigated for other attacks around the country including the rape of an 11-year-old boy.

Police confirmed the “extremely dangerous” McCann had been arrested in Cheshire after a stand-off with officers overnight.

The 34-year-old is now being investigated over seven incidents across Cheshire, Manchester, Lancashire, London and Hertfordshire between April 21 and Sunday.

The attacks involved a total of 12 victims, aged between 11 and 71, the Metropolitan Police said.

Residents described how police descended en masse on a rural lane near Congleton in Cheshire at the weekend after McCann fled up a tree.

Two teenage girls were forced into a car in the Cheshire town earlier on Sunday.

The black Fiat Punto made off from the town centre at around 6.45pm but was spotted and pursued by officers before it hit another car and the driver fled, leaving the victims unhurt but “extremely shaken”, Cheshire Police said.

The suspect was found in the tree in Smithy Lane, a country road just outside the town, following road checks and closures.

Negotiators and paramedics were deployed and he was eventually taken into custody at around 3am on Monday morning.

Scotland Yard detectives launched a hunt for suspected rapist and kidnapper McCann after he snatched two women in their 20s off the streets in north London on April 25 in separate incidents.

The 34-year-old is also suspected of abducting a 21-year-old woman at knifepoint in Watford in the early hours of April 21 and raping her.

Police said a woman aged in her 30s was falsely imprisoned at a location in Haslingden, Lancashire, on Sunday morning at around 8am and, during the same incident a teenage girl and boy, aged 11, were raped.

At 1.30pm on the same day a woman aged 71 was abducted and raped in Bury, Manchester.

Two hours later two 13-year-old boys and a 13-year-old girl were abducted in Heywood, Manchester. During that incident the 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted, police said.

DCI Katherine Goodwin, from the Met’s homicide and major crime command said: “Between Sunday April 21 and Saturday May 5, McCann is suspected to have been involved in a number of attacks across different parts of the country.

“I can confirm he is now being investigated for offences committed in Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire in addition to London and Hertfordshire.

“Detectives from the Met continue to lead on this investigation and are working very closely with policing counterparts where he is suspected to have carried out further offences. These offences will be jointly investigated.

“At this early stage, there are believed to be nine further victims following the attacks in Hertfordshire and London. These attacks were grotesque and horrifying. These victims are now being supported by specialist officers. Further details concerning specific offences will become clearer in due course.

“I would urge any other victims to come forward. We also need to hear from anyone who has been approached or been in contact with McCann between and May.”

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