Tears as charges against alleged serial sex attacker read out

Jurors became tearful and upset as a string of charges were read out ahead of the trial of an alleged serial rapist.

Joseph McCann, 34, is accused of a catalogue of offences against 11 alleged victims, one as young as 11 years old, over a two-week period between April 20 and May 5.

On the first day of his Old Bailey trial, jurors were told not guilty pleas had been entered on 37 charges, including rape, kidnap and false imprisonment.

After being sworn in, some jurors appeared shocked, with one wiping away tears, as details of each count were given.

Mr Justice Edis said: “It is apparent while that indictment was being read out that it caused more than one of you apparent distress simply to hear the charges being read out.

“That is unsurprising, and you can imagine what this trial is going to be about, and that it is not going to be easy to listen to some of the material that you are going to listen to.

“In this case the prosecution alleges that the defendant committed a large number of very serious sexual and other offences against 11 victims on three days last spring.

“You will hear the complainants give evidence, and it is likely that they will be distressed when they do, and you will find some of what they say hard to listen to.

“Please remember that you are here you decide whether their evidence is truthful and reliable, or whether it is not.

“The decision will not be helped by allowing your emotional reaction to play any part.

“I do not ask you to feel no emotion, that will not be possible. What I do ask you to do is make sure you keep an open mind until you hear all the evidence.”

McCann, of Harrow, west London, faces 10 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of rape, one count of rape of a child, and two counts of causing or inciting a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

He is further charged with seven counts of kidnap, one count of attempted kidnap, three counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, three counts of assault by penetration, one count of sexual assault and two counts of committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence.

The jury was sent home until Tuesday, when prosecutor John Price QC is expected to open the case.

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