A judge has called for an investigation into how the criminal justice system failed to protect the victims of serial rapist Joseph McCann.

On Friday McCann, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was found guilty of 37 crimes committed between 20 April and 5 May. Four of the victims were children. Yesterday, at the Old Bailey, the Honourable Mr Justice Edis imposed 33 life sentences. His sentencing and post-sentencing remarks were published by the judiciary shortly afterwards.

In 2008 McCann received an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection. A decade later he received three years' imprisonment but was not recalled to serve the IPP sentence. He was released shortly before committing the 37 crimes.

The sentence of imprisonment for public protection has now been abolished but Mr Justice Edis said he doubted if a life sentence would have been imposed on McCann in 2008 had that been the only indeterminate sentence available, as would now be the case.

'However, he was subject to such a sentence and he should not have been at liberty to commit these offences unless the Parole Board had recommended his release,' the judge said. 'The three years sentence imposed in January 2018 was ordered to run “concurrently with any recall”, but no such recall ever took place. It seems to me that there should be a systematic and independent investigation reporting in public into how the system failed to protect his victims from him. That does not need to re-traumatise the victims, who have given their accounts and have made their victim personal statements.'

The judge thanked lawyers on both sides 'for the proper and careful way in which they have discharged their duties in a case which was not easy for either side'. The jury 'applied themselves to an important public duty which they discharged with distinction'.

McCann must serve 30 years before he can be considered for release.