Police step up patrols after third attack in St George, Bristol
POLICE believe a serial sex attacker may be stalking an area of Bristol.
Detectives are linking an assault in St George last week with two similar incidents earlier this year – one of which led to what they described as a serious sexual assault.
The attacks took place on the fringes of St George, near Kingswood and Hanham.
Officers say residents are concerned and have been handing out rape alarms.
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In each incident the attacker was described as a 6ft tall man, who is white with dark hair and blue eyes and covers his face, with a scarf on one occasion and a balaclava on another.
The masked man grabbed his victims from behind on two occasions, reaching around their bodies with his arm.
Police have increased patrols at Furber Road, the location of last week's attack, which runs between the Kingsway and Bryants Hill, also setting up a mobile police station.
Last night around 12 officers joined Detective Inspector Mike Buck, who is working on the case, to gather more information a week on from the latest attack, which happened at 9.30pm on November 28.
Mr Buck told The Post: "The idea is that by having detectives and officers here we can try to find people who take this route home regularly and ask them questions.
"We are interested in talking to anybody who may have any information, no matter how insignificant they think it may be, so we can piece everything together."
Police are particularly keen to talk to two boys who were recorded on CCTV close to the scene of the latest attack, moments before the suspect passed the same spot, to see if they have information that could help the investigation.
The victim was a 24-year-old woman who had just parked her car in Furber Road and was walking towards Bryants Hill at 9.30pm.
As she approached the junction, a man hiding behind a wall attacked her from behind.
At the same time a car pulled into Furber Road, disturbing the attacker, who ran off up the street.
The description of the attacker was "broadly similar" to the attacks which took place on May 11 and 30 this year, both in an alleyway off the Kingsway, opposite its junction with Furber Road.
On May 11, a 16-year-old was attacked while walking with a friend though the alleyway by a man with a Bristolian accent wearing a black balaclava. He was pushed away and the girl escaped.
Two weeks later another 16-year-old was sexually assaulted as she walked home, by a man wearing sunglasses and a beanie hat.
The attacker was said to be aged between 20 and 40.
Mr Buck said the attacker told one victim to "shhh" as he assaulted her.
After the most recent incident, when the attacker was wearing a beanie hat and a scarf over his nose and mouth, police reissued a warning to people walking home at night to plan their route and make sure they walk in pairs or with family and friends.
Police beat manager for St George, PC Peter Crawford, said: "A lot of people up and down the road here have expressed concern and we have been handing out a lot of alarms.
"We have had a lot of people coming up to us and asking for information and asking if it is safe to walk out at night. We have asked them to stick in twos and walk with people they know at the moment.
"Everyone is a bit worried. This is not an everyday occurrence in Bristol and although they are isolated incidents we are not ruling out the connection."
Mr Buck said the fact that the attacker was masked meant they had few clues as to his identity.
He said: "Whether it is because he is local or just because he wants to conceal his identity is difficult to know. We are keeping all options open while the investigations are on-going." He said patrols would continue in the area in the hope of gathering further information and reassuring residents.
Last night police were also trying to trace the owner of a red Mini who regularly takes the route home and may be a witness.
Anyone who believes they may have seen the man, or knows who he is, should contact the police on 101.
Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.