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17th March 2014

Serial Withington sex attacker assaults four more women

Most of the women attacked have been students

The same man who sexually assaulted five women in January has attacked four more women in Withington, police believe.

Three attacks took place in the same night. Most of the women attacked were students in their early 20’s.

Police have renewed their warning to lone women to be on their guard in the area.

Between 7.40pm and 10.10pm on Monday 3rd March, the offender grabbed and sexually assaulted three women on Neston Avenue, Withington, Burton Road, Withington, and Mauldeth Road, Ladybarn.

A further attack took place on Sunday 9th March on Palatine Road, near Everett Road, Withington.

The offender is described as between 5ft 5in and 5ft 8in tall, of slim build, wearing a hoody and baggy jogging style bottoms.

In the last four incidents, he was riding a dark coloured mountain bike.

The repeated attacks have caused concern among some students.

“I feel a little bit worried about being on my own at night now”, Róisín Farrell, a fourth year Speech and Language Therapy student living in Withington, told The Mancunion. “It’s quite worrying that this same guy is targeting such a small area and he still hasn’t been caught”.

Earlier this year, the same man assaulted five women on or around Everett Road in Withington.

Between 6th January and 25th January 2014, he grabbed and sexually assaulted five lone women in their 20’s, many of whom were out jogging.

All the attacks have taken place between 6.15pm and 11.00pm.

Detective Sergeant Doug Cowan of South Manchester Division sai, “Since the first spate we have been working hard to catch this offender, but it appears he has started to once again target lone women.

“From what they tell us, the suspect is quite young – in his mid to late teens – and is now riding a dark-coloured mountain bike.

“But don’t let his relative youth fool you. To be grabbed or touched inappropriately by a complete stranger in these circumstances is extremely unpleasant and downright scary.

“That said, the purpose of this appeal is not to alarm people but to alert women of the risks posed to them and to be on their guard.

“We need to consider that there may be other victims who have not yet come forward and I would urge them to do so.

“Also I would ask lone women, especially joggers, to be aware of their surroundings, to stick to well-lit areas and, most importantly, to go out with someone else wherever possible.

“We have been speaking to residents and have also stepped up patrols in the area to reassure people, prevent further offences and gather information”.

Monique Davis, a fourth year French and Italian student also living in Withington, told The Mancunion, “It hasn’t greatly impacted how safe I feel because I still see Withington as quite a safe area.

“The fact it’s the same man as before is worrying though, because he clearly isn’t afraid and so things could get worse.

“I will try and follow the advice from the police, people do need to be careful to not go out alone. But it wouldn’t stop me leaving the house if I didn’t have anyone to go with”.

Sarah Cook, a fourth year Speech and Language Therapy student living in Withington, also told The Mancunion, “The new attacks have made me feel more cautious about being alone at night.

“It seems like not enough has been done to raise awareness about what has been happening. The focus should be on catching the attacker, not on telling women not to go out.

“I felt uncomfortable walking to visit a friend who also lives in Withington, and I shouldn’t have to feel like that five minutes from my front door”.

Police are appealing for any witnesses or anyone who has seen a man matching the description acting suspiciously to call them on 101 or 0161 856 4973.

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