Women urged not to walk alone in Chelmsford following three sexual assaults

WOMEN are being urged not to walk alone late at night in central Chelmsford following three sexual assaults in the town.

Essex Police is also appealing for information about the incidents.

The first assault, which is being treated as an attempted rape, happened in New Street between 2-3am on Thursday, March 1.

A 28-year-old local woman was approached from behind by a man who punched in the face and knocked to the ground before he attempted to sexually assault her.

The suspect was disturbed and ran off.

He is described as white, aged about 25, 5ft 8in tall with short cropped brown hair and was wearing a dark knitted jumper. It is possible he has scratches to his face. The victim was taken to hospital where she was treated and released for facial injuries including an injured eye.

Police are searching for a man with recent scratches to his face in relation to the attack.

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Det Supt Ewen Wilson said: “We want to hear from any relatives, friends of acquaintances of any man of this description who was in the Chelmsford area last Wednesday evening/early hours of Thursday and has received scratches to his face since Thursday morning.”

At about 5.30am on the same day a woman reported being grabbed from behind as she walked along the Bunny Walk near the Riverside retail park. She screamed and the man ran off. She was unharmed but badly shaken.

In the third incident at 2.15am Saturday March 3, a woman was assaulted as she was standing outside Chelmsford Cathedral. She pushed the man away and ran to raise the alarm at a nearby bar.

DCI Simon Werrett, the senior investigating officer, said: “We want to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time of these assaults.

“It is extremely unusual to have three similar incidents in such a short space of time and we urge woman to be especially vigilant late at night. They should avoid walking alone in quieter areas of the town centre and if they have been drinking should always get a taxi home or arrange a lift.”

Anyone with information about any of the incidents should contact the Sexual Offences Investigation Team at Brentwood on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.