A series of vicious attacks on Oxford’s female students
has left police appealing for witnesses this week. Two women were
indecently assaulted in separate incidents and an Exeter student
was mugged. In the early hours of Sunday 25 April a young woman was
attacked by an Asian male thought to be in his mid to late
twenties. The assault took place on East Avenue, off Cowley Road.
Two days later another student was assailed in similar
circumstances on Princes Street, again just off Cowley Road. This
attack took place in the afternoon. The perpetrator is described
as an Asian male, approximately thirteen years old. Despite the age discrepancy between the suspects, the police
still believe the incidents could be connected. DC Mark Hill, who
is leading the investigation, told Cherwell, “We can’t
definitely say they’re linked, but they may well be.” “We don’t want to panic people”, he explained,
“but they do appear to be targeting females, regardless of
the time of day. We urge female students to be vigilant.”
Nobody has been arrested for the assaults and the inquiry is
ongoing. In an unrelated incident, an Exeter College student was mugged
last Saturday night. The attack took place at around 11:30pm on
Brasenose Lane, which links Radcliffe Square and Turl Street. The
victim’s handbag was stolen. Second-year English and History student Laura Morton was
returning to Cowley Road alone after an evening out in the centre
of town. She was unaware of the man’s presence until a few
seconds before the robbery. She pursued the thief onto the High
Street before returning to Exeter College to alert the porters. Despite an area search by the police around the High Street
and St Aldate’s area, the man has not been traced. The
aggressor is described as “wearing dark clothes, with fairly
nondescript features and lank brown hair.” Morton told
Cherwell that she was shocked and angry at the mugging. She said,
“Although Brasenose Lane is not well lit, I used to feel
safer there than outside the centre of Oxford. It’s
obviously a violation, one I wasn’t expecting, and it has
left me feeling tense and paranoid, even at earlier times of the
evening.” A police spokeswoman maintained that “Oxford is a safe
city” but advised students to “take a minimum of cash
and valuables out with you and wherever possible use cash
machines in well lit, busy areas. Travel on main routes
throughout the city and try to stick together with friends. Avoid
obvious use of your mobile phone; think before you use it. Stay
aware of your surroundings and remain in control.” The police have released e-fits of the men involved in the
first two incidents to Cherwell to help people identify the
suspects. Anyone with information on the indecent assaults should
ring DC Mark Hill on 01865 266118 or Crimestoppers anonymously on
0800 555111.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004