Serial sex attacker strikes for FOURTH time as police warn women not to walk alone in secluded areas

Police have issued a warning to women after a serial sex attacker struck for at least the fourth time in two years.

Officers say a man who seriously sexually assaulted a woman in Spondon, Derby, last month is believed to be the same one who raped a woman and assaulted two others in three previous attacks.

Women and girls have been told not to walk alone in secluded areas as police have made catching the violent offender their top priority.

Detectives believe the man lives locally or has connections to the area and have appealed to the public for information to help them identify him, the Derby Telegraph reports.

Superintendent Tracy Harrison says catching the man (pictured in a drawing) is a top priority
(Photo: Derby Telegraph)

Derbyshire Police said the man struck on February 16 at 11am, when he seriously sexually assaulted a woman in the Stoney Lane area of Spondon.

The previous attacks the police are linking are a rape of a 18-year-old woman on September 7, 2015, within Darley Park at around 5.40pm.

The incident occurred in the nature reserve close to South Avenue and was featured on Crimewatch.

They believe the same man also sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl on September 27, 2014, on a footpath between West Park Road and Acorn Way at around 8.50pm.

The man seriously sexually assaulted a 29-year-old woman on December 22, 2015, in the same location.

The latest attack happened in the Stoney Lane area of Spondon
(Photo: Derby Telegraph)

Superintendent Tracy Harrison, who is responsible for policing in Derby, said she was confident the force would catch the predator.

She wanted more sightings of men fitting the description of the attacker to be reported and more names of those who could be behind the attacks.

She added: “We’re dealing with a number of live investigations at the moment but this is our number one priority.

“This is the biggest inquiry for the force at this time and we are putting in significant resources into catching this man.

“I am confident we will get him. I am confident in the local community that they will help us and come forward with information. I’m also confident in the detectives and the police work that is going into this.

“We will not give in until we get him. One thing that makes this so shocking is these attacks are very rare. We don’t get this sort of crime in Derby or Derbyshire and that is why we want to find this attacker.”

Supt Harrison said the force believes the man lives locally or has connections with the area.

Supt Harrison warned women not to walk in secluded areas on their own
(Photo: Derby Telegraph)

She added: “We believe this because of where he has attacked and because we think he has knowledge of the local area of where the offences have taken place.”

As a result of the attacks, Supt Harrison is urging women and girls not to walk in secluded areas on their own.

She said: “Consider using an alternative, busier route where there will be other walkers – even if it makes your journey five or ten minutes longer.

“If you have to walk through a secluded area, be aware of your surroundings at all times or try to walk with a friend.

“Don’t walk with earphones in and look ahead at the path you’re using. If you are walking and you see a man you think is acting suspiciously, or who makes you feel uncomfortable, leave the area immediately and call the police. If you feel under threat, call us on 999.”

Supt Harrison urged anybody with information or suspicions about somebody they know to contact police.

She said: “These are life-changing incidents. I hope the victims can move on but they will never get over this. We can give them the support and help they need but we want to find this man now.

“We have increased the number of staff on our investigation team. We have dedicated, trained detectives working on this and they are following a number of inquiries and they will respond to any information or call we get.

“We have patrols, we have officers in those areas. Both in terms of trying to get information, get out the leaflets and give out advice and be visible in the areas where the attacks have taken place.”

Anybody with information about the attacks or who would like to report suspicions about someone should call Derbyshire police on 101 or the dedicated helpline 0800 092 0410 or 0207 158 0124 which opens at 7am. People can also email appeals@derbyshire.pnn.police.uk .

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