Detectives are investigating the possibility of a serial sex attacker in Whitsable following seven women being attacked.
Police fear there could be more victims who have not yet come forward.
Detectives are today reviewing evidence to examine the possibility that all seven attacks which range from indecent exposure to sexual assault are linked.
Police began investigating the offender on January 27th when three attacks over a 45 minuet period were reported to police.
Police first received reports that a man indecently exposed himself to two teenage girls which was report to police between 6.25PM to 6.45PM, while they walked down Grimshill Road near the junction of Gosselin Street, he indecently exposed himself, two teenage girls.
The girls turn around and walked in the opposite direction, the man followed them and grabbed one of the girls by the neck from behind, he pushed her into a hedge and punched her in the head.
Later that night a woman contacted police to say that she was walking along Carb and Winkle Line in Whitsable at 6pm with her young daughter when she was approached by a man who touched her in an inappropriate way over her clothing.
A third woman contacted police to report that she was pushed off her bike in Stream Walk, Whitstable which caused bruising to her left arm and should between 6.30PM and 6.35PM.
Police received further reports on Saturday, 14 June, a 26 year old woman was walking along the Crab and Winkle Line when she noticed a man in front of her. A moment later he allegedly walked directly up to her and punched her in the face. The woman fell backwards into some bushes and the suspect continued to hit her. He then ran off through the graveyard.
Police reports on Tuesday 12 August police received three reports from women claiming they’d been assaulted by a man.
An 88 year old woman reported at 1.40PM she approached from behind when she was walking along the alleyway that joins Cromwell and Acton Roads. She claims to have been touched inappropriately and reported that the man also tried to take her handbag but didn’t manage it. He ran off in the same direction that he approached her from.
A Cyclist reported at 3.15pm that she was cycling down the Crab and Winkle Line, opposite the cemetery, when a man allegedly ran out and grabbed her inappropriately from behind. Half an hour later a woman was walking from Crab and Winkle Way towards a supermarket when a man approached her and grabbed her inappropriately.
Detective Inspector Max Davidson said: “My officers and I are carrying out a number of lines of enquiry and this is very much a live investigation. We are aware of several similarities and several differences in the nature of the offences and the descriptions given of the offender. However, at this stage we are not formally linking the attacks and are keeping an open mind.”
“There will be an increased police presence in Whitstable to help reassure local residents and to carry out enquiries and I would urge anyone who may have information about any of these offences or who may have been in the areas at the times they took place, to come forward.”
“No amount of information should be considered too small or insignificant.”
Police have described the suspected as White, stocky build, shaven head, between 40 and 50 years old during all seven attacks he has either worn a Dark or Grey coloured hooded top, during one of the attacks he was described as wearing camouflage style trousers.
He has a tribal or Celtic style tattoo around the base of the right hand thumb.
Police have taken the steps to issue safety advice to women within the community.
Chief Inspector Mark Arnold said: “I would like to remind members of the public that whilst incidents such as these are rare, it is still important to think about your personal safety when out and about.”
“We would ask people to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour, no matter how trivial it may seem at the time. We advise people, particularly women, to stick to the main routes and thoroughfares.”
· stick to well lit and busy areas, particularly at night. Avoid short cuts through isolated areas
· avoid travelling alone at night and plan your route – wear bright clothing so you can be seen
· let others know where you’re going and when you’ll be home
· if you use a wheelchair, keep your belongings beside you rather than at the back of your chair
· be alert to what’s going on around you. For example, when out walking or jogging, don’t listen to MP3 players through headphones
Anyone with information should contact Detective Inspector Max Davidson on 01843 222 069.
Alternatively, you can contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.