Police hunt teenager's rapist

POLICE are hunting a rapist who attacked an 18-year-old woman as she walked alone in an Essex road.The victim was approached in Coldnailhurst Avenue, Braintree, when a man grabbed her from behind, dragged her to a grassy area and raped her.

By Sharon Asplin

POLICE are hunting a rapist who attacked an 18-year-old woman as she walked alone in an Essex road.

The victim was approached in Coldnailhurst Avenue, Braintree, when a man grabbed her from behind, dragged her to a grassy area and raped her. No weapon was used.

Although the incident happened at about 10.20pm on Tuesday, for investigative reasons, details of the assault were only released last night by detectives.


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The grassy area has a hedgerow alongside and a footpath leading to Rosemary Avenue.

After the attack, the man escaped on foot towards Rosemary Avenue and the woman walked home, leaving her fleece top and trousers at the scene.

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She telephoned a friend to tell her what happened and she went to Braintree Police Station to report it on her behalf.

Police have now interviewed the woman and are trying to gather evidence from members of the public who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area.

The attacker was white, aged in his late twenties or early thirties, 5ft 8ins tall and stockily built. He was clean-shaven with dark cropped hair, a round face and slightly protruding ears.

Anyone with any information should contact Det Sgt Vaughan High at Braintree Police Station on 01376 551312.

Meanwhile, police want to hear from a dog walker whose pet scared off a man as he tried to attack a teenage girl in a dark alleyway.

The 15-year-old victim was walking along an alleyway off Cambridge Road, Colchester, near its junction with Maldon Road, when a man forced her to the ground.

A cream-coloured dog then came running along and the man ran off towards Cambridge Road.

The girl got to her feet and ran to Cambridge Road and all the way home.

She saw a person with a torch following the dog along the alleyway, but could not make out whether it was a man or a woman.

The attack took place two weeks ago at 10pm on Saturday February 22.

Yesterday an Essex Police spokeswoman said: "The dog walker may have valuable information and may have prevented a more serious offence from taking place."

Detective Constable Pete Burns, of Colchester CID, said: "I am appealing for the dog walker to contact me as he or she may have some piece of information, however small that could be crucial to investigation.

"If anybody recognises the description of the man I urge them to pass on their suspicions to the police."

The attacker is described as white, 6ft 2in or 6ft 3ins tall, medium build, a thin face, unshaven with fair stubble. He wore dark blue denim jacket, gloves and a black or navy baseball cap with a white motif on the front.

Police say there is no evidence to link this latest incident to the two sex attacks currently being investigated by the major incident unit, one of which took place near Cambridge Road, in the Bluebottle Grove network of footpaths last October.

The Bluebottle Grove assault was linked through DNA evidence with another in Chelmsford in September. A third attack, which could be linked with them, took place in the Bluebottle Grove network in December.

Anyone with information about the Cambridge Road attack should contact Colchester CID on 01206 762212 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111.

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