Man linked by Sussex Police to Brighton sex assaults

CCTV image of man being sought in connection with both attacks
Image caption The man is being linked to both attacks

A man who tried to rape a woman in Brighton last Sunday has been linked to a similar attack a few days earlier.

Police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in connection with both attacks in Kemp Town.

The 36-year-old woman was attacked in Upper Rock Gardens at about 0315 BST on 26 June, four days after a 26-year-old was sexually assaulted in Park Street.

Police patrols are being stepped up in the city this weekend as investigations into the attacks continue.

Sussex Police said in the most recent attack the victim had been initially approached by the suspect after leaving the Ranelagh Arms pub and had been walking up St James Street towards Upper Rock Gardens.

After talking to him for a few minutes she became uncomfortable and tried to get away but was then taken to an area by the recycling bins in Upper Rock Gardens where the suspect attempted to rape her before fleeing the scene.

Passing cyclist

On 22 June, the victim was approached by the suspect and followed for a short distance before being physically attacked and dragged into Park Street where she was sexually assaulted.

A passing cyclist came to her rescue and chased the attacker away, who fled from Park Street in the direction of Hereford Street on foot.

Police are still looking for a man who followed a lone woman in Coombe Road on the same night, but fled when the woman screamed. They do no believe the incident is linked.

Det Ch Insp Nick Sloan has urged women in Brighton to remain vigilant.

"Do not walk about late at night on your own, make sure your family and friends know your whereabouts and make sure your mobile phone is fully charged or has credit.

"Do not hesitate to call 999 if you think you are being followed," he said.

As well as extra police patrols in the city, officers are conducting house-to-house inquiries with local residents and businesses, and CCTV from both crime scenes is being examined.

Trilby hat

Det Ch Insp Sloan appealed for the public's help in finding the offender and asked anyone who was in St James Street and possibly saw the second victim with the suspect outside a shop called Convenience Corner at about 0300 BST to contact the force.

He said he was particularly keen for a young man and woman to come forward, who police believed were potential witnesses.

The man was described as having blond hair and was wearing a blue hooded top, jeans and dark trainers. The woman he was with had dark curly shoulder length hair and dark rimmed glasses, and was wearing a dark wool coat with a short dress or skirt underneath and had a large white handbag over her shoulder.

The suspect in both attacks is described as white, between 5ft 6in and 5ft 8in tall, of stocky build and spoke with a foreign accent.

On the night of 22 June he was wearing a white trilby-style hat, black leather jacket, blue jeans and white trainers.

On 26 June he was wearing blue jeans, black jacket and white trainers but no hat and had short dark hair.

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