Fugitive Joseph McCann, 34, has been charged with five counts of rape, three of kidnap, one of false imprisonment and three other sexual offences in Watford and London.

McCann, of Aylesbury, was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this afternoon but reportedly refused to leave his cell.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot authorised the use of force to bring the 34-year-old before her by video-link from Belmarsh prison on Thursday.

Six uniformed officers were on guard outside the courtroom.

Prosecutor Iain Jenkins asked the judge to authorise the use of force so McCann could appear before the court by video-link from Belmarsh prison on Thursday.

Ms Arbuthnot said: "Mr McCann has failed to come up and yes, I do certainly authorise the use of force to get him before the video-link tomorrow so we can get on with the case."

The charges have been brought in connection with a series of offences committed between 21 April and May 6.

The following charges have now been made:

Hertfordshire: One count of kidnap and one count of rape

London: Two counts of kidnap; four counts of rape, one count of false imprisonment, two counts of causing a female 13 or over to engage in a non-penetrative sexual activity and one count of assaulting a female 13 and over by penetration with part of body/a thing.

He will next appear via video link at Westminster Magistrates Court tomorrow (Thursday).

Officers from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command continue to investigate.

A file remains with the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to further alleged offences.