‘Don’t walk home alone’

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The first woman fought off her assailant after he grabbed her around the neck and tried to drag her into a car park. The police say that the second woman ‘challenged’ the man after he followed her to her front door.

Both incidents happened in the early hours of a Sunday morning in the Springfield area – the first on 9 September at around 2.15 am and the second last Sunday between 2.30 and 2.45 am.

Detectives have now released additional CCTV footage, which can be seen on the JEP website, of the night of the first attack and are hoping that the public can help them identify the suspect – who is described as between 25 and 35 years old, around 5 ft 8 in height with dark hair and eyes and a tanned appearance.

There are similarities in the descriptions provided by the two victims, investigating officer DCI Chris Beechey said, but the police are still ‘open-minded’ as to whether one or two offenders are involved.

DCI Beechey said women should ‘plan ahead’ for how they will get home at the end of an evening.

‘Our advice is to avoid dark and quiet areas of town and walk in pairs or a group,’ he said. ‘But also think about how you will get home in advance, as opposed to leaving it to the last minute.’

Police are also looking for a number of witnesses to come forward.

The CCTV footage from 9 September shows the suspect, dressed in black, walking along various streets. ‘Although there is not a clear image of his face it could be familiar to someone who knows this man,’ they said.

‘We would like to speak to the driver of the taxi that passes the man in Rouge Bouillon and also the witnesses seen on the CCTV to be standing on the other side of the road in Cheapside as the man walks up toward St John’s Road.’

In the more recent incident, a woman in her 30s was making her way home from Mulcaster Street.

She is 5 ft 1 in height with shoulder-length blonde hair and was wearing grey trousers and a cream leather jacket and walking barefoot.

She walked through the Royal Square towards Bath Street, then into Belmont Road, and along Simon Place before turning left into St Saviour’s Road.

As she approached the Monterey Hotel the man – who was wearing a knee-length navy mac, zipped to the neck – asked her if she was okay, the police said.

He continued to follow her but fled when she confronted him as she got home.

The police would like to speak to a couple seen walking nearby at roughly 2.30 am, who then turned into Stopford Road in the direction of David Place.

DCI Beechey said anyone who was in either area and may have seen anything that looked suspicious should contact the police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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