An unnamed man was assaulted in the St. Clement’s area on Wednesday night. He later died in hospital as the result of his injuries.
The police have begun an investigation and have already arrested four people, two men and two women, under suspicion of murder.
The area around Dawson Street, where the incident occurred, was cordoned off for Wednesday night and much of Thursday morning while police examined the scene of the crime.
The man was found by police at 8.42pm on Wednesday evening with serious injuries, the nature of which have yet to be revealed.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Tolmie, Senior Investigating Officer, commented in a statement to the press, “We are at the very early stages of the investigation and a number of enquiries remain ongoing.
He also appealed to the public for their help, saying, “I would urge anyone who was in the St Clement’s area of Oxford last night who saw any suspicious activity or has any information about the incident, to contact police.”
This news follows reports of another sexual assault in Cowley earlier this week. A 29 year old woman was attacked by a man described to be “of middle eastern origin, aged about 22, about 5’10” and of large build.”
In a statement from Thames Valley Police, it was also revealed, “He has short hair and a closely shaven beard, spoke with a foreign accent, and was wearing a tracksuit.”
Sexual attacks in East Oxford are not uncommon, with five occurring over a period of eight days last June. Violence is also not unknown to the area, with various incidents of knife crime occurring in recent years. In October last year two serious knife attacks happened in one week and in 2009 a man was stabbed to death during the day on Cowley Road.
Claire Barnes, a Classics and English student who lives on Rectory Road off St Clement’s, when asked what she felt about the fatal attack was defensive of the area saying, “It’s horrible obviously but I don’t think it’s necessarily the area. I’m sure next time something like this happens it won’t be right next to where I live.”
She added that she was more concerned by the seemingly regular occurrence of sexual attacks in the Cowley area commenting, “You have to be on your guard, but then you have to be on your guard in any major city. Even the city centre is a place to be careful because there are just as many dark alleys and drunk people stumbling around.”
Ben Deaner, a second year PPEist who lives near St. Clement’s, echoed the sentiment that all cities are dangerous adding, “I walked past the police cordon about half two in the morning on my way home from Park End and wondered in passing what was going on.
‘I don’t think the murder’s that shocking though, in fact I’m surprised this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often in a city this size. It doesn’t make me feel particularly worried because I presume there was a grievance behind the act. I find the sexual attacks more concerning on the basis that those attacks are random and could happen to anyone.”
Some were less accepting of the crimes, with one student who wished to remain anonymous saying, “As a student at a college where second years live out, I worry for my friends who have houses in that area. I find it shocking that such violence occurs on our streets. I’m from a small village and I feel much safer there: this wouldn’t happen in Wensleydale.”
For the St Clement’s neighbourhood, Thames Valley Police have identified as major priorities drunkenness and alcohol-related antisocial behaviour, as well as drug dealing and misuse. Iffley Fields has been given the same assessment, and in the Cowley Marsh area anti-social behaviour has been deemed the biggest problem to be tackled by the police.