A SCHOOLBOY told police he and a friend tried to fight off an alleged serial rapist who had apparently kidnapped a girl, a court has heard.

The teenager — who cannot be named because of his age — said he was walking along a street in Greater Manchester with a teenage male and female friend when they were stopped by Joseph McCann, who accused the trio of bullying his sister.

McCann, of Harrow, north-west London, is accused of abducting, raping and holding prisoner a string of women and girls aged 11 to 71 across London, Hertfordshire and the North West between April 20 and May 5.

He is on trial at the Old Bailey having denied 37 charges relating to 11 alleged victims.

In a recorded video interview, the boy said 34-year-old McCann was drinking from a bottle of wine in a car before accusing the three and ordering them into the vehicle.

The court heard that McCann was in the car with an elderly woman who he had kidnapped as she loaded her shopping into her car in Morrisons, Ramsbottom.

McCann told the teenagers the pensioner, who was in the front of the car at the time, was his grandmother.

The trial previously heard how the 71-year-old was punched in the face by McCann before being kidnapped and sexually assaulted in her car.

The boy said: "This guy stopped us, he said, 'Which one of you was calling my sister names and making threats to her?'

"We said, 'We haven't, it was not us'. He told us to get into the car."

The boy said McCann then told the boys to "hop out" and wait on the pavement "for five minutes", with the female friend remaining in the back seat of the car.

The witness said McCann told them he would stab them if they reported the incident to police.

"He said he was keeping her (the girl) hostage, then he drove off at 50mph with his 'grandma'," the boy said.

"(The girl) was just crying. We asked her if she was OK. We tried to get her out. My (male) friend was trying to get the guy off her, for at least two minutes."

The boys then raised the alarm at a nearby shop.

McCann, who is not in the dock, is charged with 10 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of rape, one count of rape of a child, two counts of causing or inciting a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, 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 a sexual offence with intent.

The trial continues.