Man who raped and kidnapped women in East Lancashire has minimum jail sentence extended by 10 years

A notorious criminal who raped a 71-year-old woman and kidnapped a 13-year-old girl, and committed a string of further heinous offences had his minimum jail term increased to 40 years by the Court of Appeal. 

Joseph McCann, a convicted burglar who had been freed after a probation error, went on a cocaine and vodka-fuelled rampage, abducting, raping and assaulting victims aged between 11 and 71 in Watford, London, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

On May 5 2019, McCann tricked his way into the home of a woman after meeting her at the Live Lounge bar in Haslingden.

He 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 boy 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 abducted and assaulted a 13-year-old girl in her car before they got away.

He was found guilty last December of 37 charges relating to 11 victims, aged between 11 and 71, and was described by sentencing judge Mr Justice Edis as a “classic psychopath”.

He was given 33 life sentences.

However, earlier this year the Attorney General’s Office referred the 30-year minimum jail term handed to McCann to the Court of Appeal as “unduly lenient”.

At a hearing in London in October, Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC argued McCann should either have been given a whole life term or a longer minimum term for his crimes, which he said were among “some of the worst and most violent that this country has ever witnessed”.

A panel of five judges refused to impose a whole life term on McCann, but increased his minimum sentence to 40 years.

Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who led the police investigation, said: “Throughout the investigation and trial, McCann’s victims displayed tremendous courage by reliving their experiences and their overwhelming evidence left the jury with no doubt as to his guilt.

“At the conclusion of the trial, the judge said he found it difficult to see how McCann could ever be safely released.

“His victims echoed these sentiments and believed his prison sentence should be more reflective not only of the horrendous crimes he committed but the significant and no doubt lifelong impact his actions have had on each of their lives.

“We were fully supportive of their decision to appeal the original sentence and we are pleased that the court has imposed a longer minimum term.

“While our investigation has ended, we know their journey is really just beginning – we hope this decision is another step towards their recovery.

“We also hope that their courage to come forward encourages others who have been victims of rape or sexual assault to do the same.

“We will support them and will do whatever we can to bring offenders to justice.”

Reynard Sinaga, 37, was handed a life sentence at Manchester Crown Court in January after being convicted of more than 150 offences, including 136 counts of rape, committed against 48 men – although police have linked him to more than 190 potential victims.

His minimum sentence was also increased to 40 years. 

Giving the court’s ruling on Friday, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said: “The offending in the cases of McCann and Sinaga, very serious indeed though it is, does not, in our judgment, call for either to receive a whole life tariff.

“This is not to minimise the seriousness of their offending but instead to ensure that the most severe sentence in our jurisdiction is reserved, save exceptionally, either for the most serious cases involving loss of life, or when a substantive plan to murder of similar seriousness is interrupted close to fulfilment.”

Lord Burnett said that in the collective experience of the senior judges who heard the case, McCann and Sinaga’s crimes are some of the most serious offences of rape to have been tried within England and Wales.

He added: “Neither man has shown any remorse and the long-term psychological damage for at least some of the victims in both trials is profound and will only be understood in the years to come.”

The judge said whether either man is in fact ever released from prison will depend on the Parole Board’s assessment of the risk they pose after they have served their minimum jail terms.

In a statement after the ruling, Mr Ellis said: “Both offenders carried out some of the most heinous and depraved sexual attacks that shocked the nation.

“I am grateful for the guidance the court gave about whole life orders and I am pleased that the court imposed a longer minimum term.

“I hope this brings some solace to the victims of these despicable crimes.”

The case was the first time two separate offenders’ sentences have been challenged together as being unduly lenient.

Sinaga – the UK’s most prolific serial rapist – preyed on lone, drunk young men around nightclubs near his flat in Manchester, posing as a Good Samaritan who offered them a floor to sleep on or promised them more drink.

The Indonesian student drugged the men then filmed himself sexually violating them while they were unconscious, with many of his victims having little or no memory of the assaults.

Judge Suzanne Goddard QC, who sentenced him to a minimum of 30 years, described Sinaga as “an evil serial sexual predator” and a “monster”.

Speaking after the Court of Appeal ruling, Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable Mabs Hussain said: “We welcome today’s ruling and are very pleased that Sinaga will be behind bars a further 10 years.

“From speaking to many of his victims, we know that many will be comforted by this outcome and feel that the extension reflects the heinous nature of the crimes committed.

“At the very heart of this case has always been the victims and supporting them through their horrific ordeal.

“The bravery that these men continue to show has been nothing short of incredible and we, alongside partners such as St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Sarc) and Survivors Manchester, will continue to offer as much support as possible to the victims and help them in every way we can.”

Mr Hussain said investigators now believe Sinaga committed sexual offences against 206 men, as a result of further evidence coming to light, and said police are yet to identify about 60 of these men.

He urged anyone who thinks they may have been a victim to contact either the force or specialist organisations such as Sarc.

He also said officers have been able to identify another 23 possible victims of Sinaga following further reports to police, after reporting restrictions on the case were lifted in January 2020.

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs