Police hunt sex attacker

PUBLISHED: 13:31 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:48 06 May 2010

The alleyway which was the scene of Saturday’s attack

The alleyway which was the scene of Saturday's attack

POLICE investigating a serious sexual assault on a young woman in the early hours of Saturday morning are appealing for witnesses. Detectives from Hertfordshire Constabulary s Major Crime Unit are looking for anyone with information to come forward follow

POLICE investigating a serious sexual assault on a young woman in the early hours of Saturday morning are appealing for witnesses.

Detectives from Hertfordshire Constabulary's Major Crime Unit are looking for anyone with information to come forward following the assault on the Hitchin woman, who is in her 20s.

The assault happened at around 3.15am on a footpath immediately behind Westmill Road in the town. The footpath runs from Redhill Road to Westmill Road.

The offender is described as a black man, approximately 5ft 6 inches tall and wearing dark clothing.

Detectives are particularly keen to hear from a taxi driver who dropped the victim's friend off at the shops in Redhill Road around 3.30am. The friend was then joined by the victim and they were driven to another nearby address.

Detective Inspector Jon Humphries, who is investigating the incident, said: "This is a serious assault which has understandably left the victim traumatised.

"An appeal on Saturday, just hours after the assault, has brought forward two men who we believe to be key witnesses.

"They have provided us with some useful information but we still need to hear from anyone else who was in the area at the time.

"We believe the victim and the offender were walking together for a short amount of time along Redhill Road before turning into the footpath where the assault took place.

"Anyone who saw them is asked to contact the police straight away."

One local resident, who did not want to be named, said residents are panicking about both the incident and the lack of information that has been supplied to them.

"We don't know what is going on at the moment," she said.

"We don't know what happened and who to look out for at the moment. The feeling is 'well, what exactly happened here?'"

Police said that incidents of this nature are rare in Hertfordshire but offered the following advice to help people stay safe.

* Always tell someone where you are going.

* Keep to well lit busy paths and avoid wooded areas.

* If possible, walk with a friend or colleague.

* Carry a personal alarm that is easily accessible so that it can be used quickly.

Anyone who witnessed the assault or saw or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact the Major Crime Team on 01992 533241.

Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. You do not have to give your name and you could be entitled to a cash reward.

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