Sex attacker may have struck before

DETECTIVES hunting a sex attacker who targeted a 24-year-old woman are renewing their pleas for witnesses after it emerged a teenager had been subjected to a similar assault in the same area exactly a week earlier.

By James Mortlock

DETECTIVES hunting a sex attacker who targeted a 24-year-old woman are renewing their pleas for witnesses after it emerged a teenager had been subjected to a similar assault in the same area exactly a week earlier.

Haverhill police say that while no formal complaint has been made by the first victim, she spoke to police after reading newspaper reports of the second assault and officers were taking the information seriously.

The 17-year-old, who comes from the Haverhill area, said she was walking her dog at 12.10am on Sunday, August 8 along the footpath that leads from the town's sports centre to Ingham Road when she was grabbed from behind and indecently assaulted.


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Police spokesman Mike Nunn said the man grabbed the victim's breasts but her dog barked at the offender, who then let go and ran off. Mr Nunn said the teenager was shaken by her ordeal but was not injured.

A week later the second victim was attacked between 1am and 1.30am at the recreation ground on Ingham Road as she was walking home from a night out in the town centre.

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The offender grabbed her from behind and pushed her into a shelter on the recreation ground where he carried out a similar sexual assault.

Mr Nunn said the victim managed to struggle free from the offender, who fled from the scene. The woman needed hospital treatment for minor injuries and is now recovering at home.

Acting Det Insp Simon Curtis, who is leading the investigation into both attacks, said: "Thanks to the local media coverage we have now received information relating to the earlier incident.

"Although the woman did not want to make a formal complaint we are continuing to look into both offences and will be investigating to determine if the incidents are linked.

"As such we are still keen to hear from anyone who has information relating to either incident. The first one that was reported to us occurred between 1am and 1.30am when the 24-year-old woman was walking in the area and was grabbed from behind and indecently assaulted by a man. He is described as wearing a dark coloured short sleeve top and dark trousers or jeans.

"If you were in the area in the early hours of Sunday, August 8 or Sunday, August 15 we would like to hear from you as you may have information to assist us with our inquiries."

The first victim said the attacker had hairy arms and smelled strongly of body odour.

Anyone with information relating to either incident is asked to contact Haverhill CID on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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