Sex attacker may have approached two other women in Bury St Edmunds

Sexual assault reported on Shakers Lane, Bury St Edmunds.

Sexual assault reported on Shakers Lane, Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Gregg Brown

An attacker who subjected a woman in Bury St Edmunds to a “nasty” sexual assault may have also approached two other women the same evening.

An e-fit image released by Suffolk police following a sexual assault in Bury St Edmunds.

An e-fit image released by Suffolk police following a sexual assault in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

A search is under way to trace the man who attacked a 25-year-old woman in a wooded area off Shakers Lane between 10.15pm and 10.30pm on Monday night, leaving her with a broken wrist.

It has now emerged the same man may have approached two other women in separate incidents about 45 minutes earlier in St Mary’s churchyard, close to the magistrates’ court.

Detective Inspector Eamonn Bridger, from Suffolk Police, is asking members of the public to be “really vigilant and take safety measures as appropriate”.

He said: “All lines of enquiry are open and we are treating it as the most serious of criminal investigations to catch the offender and bring them to justice.

“It’s a really rare occurrence for Suffolk and particularly Bury St Edmunds.”

He said the suspect is not believed to be known to the victim, describing the incident as a “stranger attack”, which is “very rare”.

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The woman, who was not raped, but suffered a serious sexual assault, is receiving appropriate support, Det Insp Bridger said.

He added: “This was a nasty assault and we are putting considerable resources in to find the man responsible. We are keen to speak to anyone who may have been in Bury St Edmunds on Monday evening who may have seen him or anyone who may be able to put a name to the e-fit.”

The woman was followed by a man and forced into a wooded area, where the sexual assault took place. The offender then ran off towards the Moreton Hall area through the woods.

He is described as being in his late teens, between 5ft 8ins and 5ft 11ins tall, with dark brown coloured hair and dark eyebrows and was wearing dark tracksuit-style clothing.

He spoke with the victim before the attack and stated that he was from Romania. While this can’t be confirmed, he is described as having an Eastern European accent and appeared to speak limited English.

A 21-year-old man from Bury St Edmunds who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on Tuesday has now been “conclusively ruled out” of the investigation and is subject to no further action, Det Insp Bridger said.

Det Insp Bridger said following initial media appeals, police had received calls from people who had given potentially important information, including the two women who reported being approached by a man meeting this description.

The women told police they had been “unsettled and frightened by the man’s behaviour”.

Other enquiries have identified several people who may be able to help police trace the suspect, including a man, described as white and in his 50s, who was walking a small black dog, believed to be called ‘Freddie’, close to the cemetery and two male cyclists who passed the victim around the time she was with the offender.

Anyone who was in the area during the evening or anyone who recognises the e-fit is asked to call Suffolk Police on 101, quoting crime number BU/15/1448. Calls can also be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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