Undercover police arrest man after series of women sexually assaulted in south Bristol

Undercover police have arrested a man in the early hours of this morning after connecting five separate incidents where a man either sexually assaulted, grabbed or followed women in the same area of south Bristol over the past few months.

The 27-year-old was detained by plain-clothed police officers patrolling in the area around the King’s Head Lane park area, between Bedminster Down and Bishopsworth, after he was spotted on CCTV.

The arrest comes after a series of incidents since March, and police say there may well be other victims out there who experienced something but have not yet come forward.

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Police acted after two reports of sexual assault on females in the King’s Head Lane Park area, which were connected to previous incidents reported to police – one in March and one in April.

Police are appealing for any witnesses to any of the incidents to come forward, or any woman who was approached, assaulted or followed in the Bedminster Down, Headley Park or Bishopsworth area of South Bristol in recent months.

In one incident, an 18-year-old was grabbed by a man in Sandburrows Road at 10.45pm on Wednesday last week, May 18. She managed to escape unhurt after screaming. She went home and called police at 11.08pm but police didn’t go and see her until 9am on Saturday, May 21 – more than two days later.

“A private apology has been made for the delay in seeing her and we would like to publicly express our apologies too,” a spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police said.

In another incident, a man was reported to be acting suspiciously by following a 15-year-old girl in the Headley Park Avenue area on Friday afternoon. She called a family member and the man stopped following her. She got home safely, told her mother and it was reported to the police on Saturday.

Earlier that day, a woman in her 30s reported that she was followed and sexually touched by a man while she was jogging in King’s Head Lane Park at 5am on Friday, May 20. She screamed and ran to a nearby shop. The police were called at 5.15am and officers did attend within ten minutes and searched the area but could not find the man.

Those three incidents this week followed two others in March and April in the same area, and police stepped up patrols, including having undercover officers in plain-clothing patrolling the area in the early hours.

“At this time we are treating these five incidents as potentially linked,” said a spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police. “Enquiries into these incidents are ongoing. Patrols of the area are also continuing.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed any of these incidents, or other victims who may not have come forward to police at this time. If you have any CCTV, dashcam or doorbell footage from the area or any other information which could help, please call 101 and give the reference 5222119305. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111,” he added.

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