WHAT IS happening to Tower Hamlets? to East London? How does it happen that in one night a young woman can be subjected to three apparently unconnected sexual assaults on the streets of Tower Hamlets in the space of an hour? What kind of men are out and about on our streets?
News has just come out that a 17 year old woman spent the first hour of Saturday, 30th September walking through Bethnal Green. The student had been to a local nightclub with some friends but had been separated from them and was trying to make her way back to her home in central London.
Fortunately Tower Hamlets has some of the best coverage of CCTV cameras in the UK, and this has assisted the police in piecing together the outline of what happened.
Police have established that the victim was on Cambridge Heath Road when she was carried by a man into a doorway. Some of the woman’s clothing was later found nearby.
Soon after midnight, the victim had reached Mint Street. CCTV has picked up an image of a man on a racing bicycle who is following her. He was wearing a baseball cap back to front. It had a square or rectangular emblem in the centre of the front side. He was wearing a jacket with a hood. It is two toned, with the shoulders and upper back parts a darker colour than the rest. The jacket zip is open, showing a plain T-shirt underneath. He had dark trousers and a bag on his back.
The man, “suspect 2”, followed the victim along Mint Street and then Three Colts Lane, as if heading towards Bethnal Green Overground Station. The two then disappear off that particular CCTV footage and are next picked up together, in Corfield Street. They disappear into a secluded area for a while, and the man then walks away, followed shortly afterwards by the woman – who carries on down Corfield Street.
A third man is then seen on CCTV, walking down Corfield Street and joining two other people in the distance, behind some parked cars. It seems that the victim was sexually assaulted by this man and possibly by his two other male companions. The third suspect was filmed walking back up Corfield Street just before 1am. In this part of the footage it can be seen that he has a very distinctive way of walking – unevenly, possibly because he is bow legged.
Shortly afterwards a member of the public saw the young victim on the ground in Corfield Street, in some distress. The passer by rang 999 and the police arrived and took over.
Detective Inspector Suzanne Jordan, from the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command (CAS0), said, “This is a horrific multiple sexual assault on a young female who was simply making her way home after a night out. We would like to thank the members of the public who intervened to help her and possibly prevented her ordeal from continuing even further.
“We believe two of the three were very serious sexual assaults indeed and are determined to catch the persons responsible for these hideous crimes. I would urge anyone who recognises either male in these images to contact us as a matter of urgency. We’d also like to speak to any witnesses who haven’t already come forward, or anyone with any information at all however insignificant they believe it might be – it could prove crucial to progressing our enquiries.”
CCTV of Suspect 2
CCTV of Suspect 3
•If you witnessed any of these assaults, if you were in the Bethnal Green area just before midnight on Friday, 29th September until just after 1am on Saturday, 30th, if you recognise either of the suspects or have any other information, please contact the CASO team on 020-8733 5999 or via 101. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800-555 111, where you can give information anonymously.