Joseph McCann: Judge visits serial rape accused in jail

Joseph McCann has refused to attend court

A man accused of 12 offences including five rapes is being visited by a judge in prison after refusing to appear in court

Joseph McCann, 34, of Aylesbury, is charged with the kidnap and rape of multiple people aged between 11 and 71.

The offences are alleged to have been committed between 20 and 27 April, in London and Watford.

Mr McCann has refused to leave his cell at Belmarsh prison in south London to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Earlier, prosecutor Tetteh Turkson told the court Mr McCann was “not being co-operative”.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said a hearing would instead be held in the visitors’ room at Belmarsh.

The BBC’s home affairs correspondent June Kelly said it was “believed to be an unprecedented first appearance by a defendant in a criminal case”.

Mr McCann was brought to court on Wednesday but refused to appear in the dock.