Detectives investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman have renewed their appeal to identify the man they are looking for.
The woman was walking down Wessex Lane onto Woodmill Lane on Sunday 2 December between 11pm and 11.50pm when a man approached her and raped her in Riverside Park.
The incident happened in an area of woodland near the skate park.
The man has been described as:
• Mid 20s – mid 30s
• Medium build
• Short brown hair,
• Facial stable (at the time of the offence)
• Wearing a dark green hooded top
• Dark trainers
We believe the man then ran off own Woodmill Lane in the direction of Forest Hill Drive and Manor Farm Road, and then entered the surrounding neighbourhood.
After the first appeal to the public, we received two more reports of women being followed along Woodmill Lane prior to this date. One on November 14 at 9.15pm and one on December 1 at 11.30pm. Neither women were attacked. We believe these incidents might involve the same man.
Detective Inspector Roger Wood, said: “The man has been described as smoking a cigarette and drinking from a beer bottle in the previous incidents.
“Further to this, his walk or gait, has been described as short-stepped, or a shuffle, which is quite unique.
“We are looking at local businesses, such as hairdressers, shops and pubs that may have served this man recently. Has he bought cigarettes or alcohol from you?
“We have previously released CCTV of the man following the woman on Wessex Lane on the night of the offence. At 11.32pm the man can be seen on camera following the 18-year-old woman. This is just before the attack takes place.
“Two vehicles drive past the man, a white or silver hatchback, and a dark coloured saloon. We really want to speak to the occupants of these vehicles.
“Furthermore, we want anyone with private CCTV or dash cam footage in the area of Woodmill Lane, Forest Hill Drive, Manor Farm Road and surrounding roads to get in touch with us.
“We are nearly two weeks on from this incident and I am looking for information from the local community to tell me who this man is.
“We have been carrying out a number of investigative enquiries, and the Southampton North Neighbourhood Policing Team have been patrolling Riverside Park. We want to reassure the community we are doing all we can to identify this man and make Southampton safer.
“We would like to remind people to remain vigilant, especially when walking alone in the dark. Try to stick to busy, well-lit areas, stick with friends, look after each other.
“It’s really important people stay alert and be aware of your surroundings and remind friends and family to do the same. Be wary of people around you, if you think you might be being followed seek help or a safe place if there is one nearby.
“If you know of anyone matching this description, or have seen anyone matching this description in the local are in the last month, please get in contact with us. The information you have might seem small but could prove significant to the investigation.”
Call 101 and quote Operation Scorch. Alternatively, make a report by going to the following link https://mipp.police.uk/operation/44HC18W09-PO1.
We work in partnership with Yellow Door. Yellow Door is a registered charity that collaboratively with the police in providing a range of support for victims for this type of crime. For more information www.yellowdoor.org.uk