Police hunt after 25 sexual assaults on women and school girls are thought to be linked

Owen Sheppard (30 November, 2017) Crime Emergency services

The youngest reported victim was eleven years old. Two of the 25 cases happened in Southwark

Girls as young as eight have allegedly been sexually assaulted by a man who may have committed 25 similar offences throughout south east London, police have said.

Scotland Yard today launch an appeal for witnesses and victims to come forward, and help with an investigation into the attacks, which could all be linked.

Among the 25 reported cases, one involved an eleven-year-old girl who was sexually touched in Herne Hill. The attack happened in Half Moon Lane on July 18 of this year, at about 5:20pm.

And on July 27, a woman aged nineteen was also sexually assaulted at about 5:20pm in Falmouth Road, SE1.

The 23 other reported cases took place between October last year and November this year, in Bromley, Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley. The youngest victim was eight years old, the oldest was a 35-year-old woman.

The last reported assault was committed on Wednesday, November 22. A fifteen-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted in Sandbourne Road, Brockley just after 8:30am. From this incident, officers recovered CCTV footage showing a male they would like to trace as part of their investigation.

Detective chief inspector Andrew Furphy told the News: “There’s a strong possibility that these cases are linked, but we’re keeping an open mind. A number have been school children, and took place in public places – in streets.

“The first offence was reported in October 2016, but we have had an upsurge in the number of offences in more recent months.”

Police would like to speak to this man in relation to the investigation

In a statement to the media, DCI Furphy said: “A number of victims have provided very similar descriptions of the attacker – a white man aged between 40 and 50.

“These offences have been traumatic for the victims, all of whom have been young females going about their daily lives.

“It is also notable that none of these offences have taken place over a weekend and many of them have been committed during the morning and evening rush hours.

Police would like to speak to this man in relation to the investigation

“Our officers have been working tirelessly to apprehend the suspect, but we need the public’s help. CCTV shows footage of a male that we would like to speak to who we believe may be able to assist our investigation. If this is you or if you know who this person is, please contact us.

“We are also aware that there might be further victims who have not yet spoken to police. If you are a victim, or know someone who has been a victim of a sexual assault, I can assure you your information will be treated with the strict confidence and sensitivity. We also have access to specialist support.”

Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 020 8284 8346 or call 101 or tweet @MetCC.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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