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Rapist may have attacked before

PUBLISHED: 06:17 10 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:01 03 March 2010

POLICE fear the man who raped a pensioner in Colchester might have tried to attack another woman earlier that evening.

Officers mounted a special operation last night to gather more information a week on from the rape and were given a number of important new leads - including a possible name for the rapist.

POLICE fear the man who raped a pensioner in Colchester might have tried to attack another woman earlier that evening.

Officers mounted a special operation last night to gather more information a week on from the rape and were given a number of important new leads - including a possible name for the rapist.

One man told police he had seen a women near the St Botolph's roundabout subway complex just before the time of the rape last Sunday. She was upset and claimed she had been followed from Magdalen Street into the subway.

The woman said she had been so scared by the man following her, she had thrown her handbag at him and ran away.

Det Sgt Geordie Tyson, one of the detectives investigating the rape, said last night: "We want this woman to come forward.

"We are keen to speak to her because it could have been the same person loitering there as one of the subways comes out near Walsingham Road, near where the attack took place."

It is believed the woman had been drinking at the Goat and Boot pub on East Hill and the man had followed her across the railway bridge. She was described as white, blonde and aged about 20.

Officers were on duty between 6pm and 9pm yesterday at the walkway, known as Artillery Barracks Folly, where the rape took place.

During the three-hour operation they talked to about 50 pedestrians, asking them if they were in the area on the previous Sunday evening. They also talked to about 80 customers at a nearby bingo and social club.

Det Sgt Tyson said: "The response has been brilliant and we have a number of leads to follow up and people to talk to again.

"After seeing the e-fit we released, someone else has also told us that they have seen someone matching the description of the suspect and even given us a name - this has been a terrific night for us."

The 68-year-old woman was raped near her home after visiting Butt Road General Stores at about 8pm last Sunday.

The married woman was walking in the lit alleyway, which leads from Butt Road to Walsingham Road, when a man grabbed her, pushed her to the ground and raped her.

Although no weapon was used, the rapist made verbal threats during the woman's ordeal, which lasted about 10 minutes, before he ran off.

Within seconds of his disappearance, an elderly man appeared and helped the victim to her feet. It is thought he disturbed the rapist, causing him to flee.

The elderly man has still not been traced and fresh appeals will be made today for him to come forward.

Det Sgt Tyson said: "This man could provide vital information and we are appealing again for him to come forward.

"He will be spoken to in confidence and will be treated with respect. There is no reason why he should feel embarrassed about not stopping at the scene – what is really important is the information he could provide."

He was described as white, between 5ft 5in and 5ft 8in tall, with sandy hair,which is balding but hangs over the ears and he was wearing a raincoat.

Since the rapist struck, the incident room at Colchester Police Station has received 90 calls from members of the public offering information, including sitings of men seen in the walkway.

The e-fit picture of the rapist was issued last week and a poster has been displayed in shops and pubs in the neighbourhood. More copies were distributed in the town centre and the Butt Road area at the weekend, while further house-to-house inquiries were carried out.

The rapist was described as white, aged about 25, of muscular build, with dark, cropped hair, with a sleeper earring in his left ear and wearing a three-quarter-length black leather jacket.

Anyone with information about the rape should contact the incident room on 0800 389 2873 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


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