Fears over safety as Hitchin public react to pathway sexual assault on 14-year-old girl

Police tape on Pinehill Path in Hitchin where there was an attack

Police tape on Pinehill Path in Hitchin where there was an attack - Credit: Archant

People who live near and use the Hitchin footpath where a 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on Monday night have spoken about their concern as police continue their hunt for the attacker.

The girl was assaulted on the footpath – which connects Chiltern Road with Benslow Lane and runs along the side of Pinehill Hospital – between 9.55pm and 11pm.

The alleyway was cordoned off until Tuesday afternoon while a sexual offences investigations team carried out forensic tests.

A dog walker who has regularly used the path for 40 years told the Comet: “It is not the area you expect this sort of thing to happen but, put it this way, I would never walk along that path at night time because I wouldn’t feel safe. I feel safe around the street lights but that path’s pitch black.”

The woman went to walk her dogs along the path on Monday but saw it had been cordoned off and was told by a police officer she couldn’t go down there. As she was walking back through a field at about 5.30pm she saw lights from the police searching along the alleyway.

Another woman who lives in an adjacent road said she was ‘truly shocked’ by the crime and expressed her hope that the girl has not been scarred by her ordeal.

Police have yet to make an arrest in connection with the crime and are appealing for witnesses.

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Anyone with information should call 101.

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