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Police are investigating three cases of indecent assault against lone women which happened in Southampton in less than 24 hours.
In the first, at around 10pm on Tuesday, February 28th, a 20 year old woman was walking in Portswood Road away from the junction with Highfield Lane when she was approached by an Asian man.
He engaged her in conversation and asked for directions to The University. The man put his arm around the victims’ waist but she pushed him off.
The woman continued on her journey home along Portswood Road and walked into Grosvenor Road, with the man still walking with her. As they approached a white panel van, the man pushed the woman against a wall and indecently assaulted her.
The woman pushed the man back and he walked off.
The second attack happened sometime between 1.30 and 2am on Wednesday, February 29th.
A 19 year old woman was walking with a friend, from the direction of The Avenue along Bannister Road when she separated from her friend.
The woman passed the Vauxhall dealership and as she passed the entrance to the car park of some flats called ‘The Lodge’, she was grabbed by a man.
The woman believed he was white. He pulled her into a dark and secluded part of the car park where she was indecently assaulted.
During this assault the woman had an item; which she believed to be a knife, held against her.
A passing group of pedestrians are thought to have disturbed the offender who left the scene, heading off in the direction of The Avenue.
The third incident occurred between 6.30 and 7am on February 29th. A 25 year old woman was walking alone in Havelock Road, near to the Civic Centre.
As she approached the main pedestrian entrance to the Matalan store in The Marlands, she noticed a man who was standing outside. He suddenly grabbed and indecently assaulted her. The victim freed herself and the man walked off towards the Civic Centre.
Leading the investigation into these three offences, Detective Inspector Dave Morgan stated:
"All of these incidents are likely to be pre-meditated and the offender has preyed on lone women who he has identified as being vulnerable, subjecting them to an assault which has caused them significant distress.
"I would particularly like to trace the group who disturbed the offender in Bannister Road, and it is likely there would have been other people in all of these areas at the stated times who could assist in identifying who committed these offences.
"It is absolutely essential that anyone who has information which they believe may assist us makes contact without delay.
"I am keeping an open mind as to whether these offences have been committed by the same offender or not, and whether they are linked to any previous offences of this type.”
The three women have provided varying descriptions of the offender but common to all three are that he was:
Asian or White
Aged 25 – 35 years old
5ft 2ins to 5ft 6ins tall
Short dark hair
Anyone with information should call the Western Area CID at Southampton Central police station on 101.