Police have issued a safety warning – and a £20,000 reward – following a series of ‘brutal’ attacks against women in Southwark.
Last December, two women were targeted in linked attacks in the Peckham area. The first took place in Commercial Way on December 4 between 1.15am and 2.15am, with the 31-year-old victim suffering a head injury.
The second took place in Hanover Park on December 13 betweeen 6.15am and 6.45am. In this instance, the 30-year-old victim was assaulted to the point of unconsciousness and was discovered lying in the street by a passerby.
The attacker ripped clothing off the victims in both attacks.
Another attack, thought to also be linked, took place the following month in Deptford. The attack, in Creekside/Deptford Church Street at 5am on New Year’s Day, left an 18-year-old with “serious assault injuries” to her head.
The linked incidents will be highlighted on Crimewatch (BBC 1, 9pm tonight), with CCTV footage showing the vicious Hanover Park attack. Police will warn viewers that the attacks appear to be escalating in violence and provide safety tips for women in the area.
Detective Chief Inspector Zena Marshall said: “Anyone watching it cannot fail to be shocked by its brutality, and therefore understand the need to catch the person responsible. I would urge anyone with any information on who the attacker may be, or anyone with any information about the attacks, to come forward and help our investigation.”
He added: “We are yet to identify the man seen on CCTV that we are keen to speak to in connection with this investigation, so we are continuing to appeal for the public’s help to find out who he may be.”
A £20,000 reward will be given to someone who can provide information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person behind the attacks.
Any witnesses or anyone with any information about the attacks can call the investigation team on 020 8217 6541 or via 101. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Police have issued the following advice:
- Prepare and consider your travel arrangements carefully and ensure someone knows where you are going, who you are with and when you might be home.
- Look as assertive as you can, walk with confidence and be aware of your surroundings and who is around you.
- Avoid short cuts and dark isolated areas, vary your routine and be discreet handling cash, phones and wearing jewellery in a public place.
- Never take your safety for granted and look after your friends so that they don’t become vulnerable. Remember your personal safety is more important than your phone or other valuables.
- Keep your bags close to you and secured with zips closed. Check your belongings and your pockets regularly.
- Wearing headphones and talking on the phone can make you unaware of your immediate surroundings – this makes you appear vulnerable and gives an advantage to a criminal.
- If you feel uneasy about an individual or situation, trust your instincts and leave the area and head towards a public place such as a shop.