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A HUNT has begun for a man who police believe may have stabbed two women in the north of the city in the last 10 days.

Yesterday a dog walker was attacked in a well-used area of Hilsea at 11.20am.

Police search woods in Hilsea Lines, Hilsea, where a woman was stabbed. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141936-164)

Police search woods in Hilsea Lines, Hilsea, where a woman was stabbed. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141936-164)

And another woman was also stabbed 10 days ago in Wymering.

The 45-year-old woman who was stabbed in the chest is still receiving treatment at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

The victim was attacked on a wooded footpath along the shoreline of Ports Creek, to the east of the footbridge which crosses from Peronne Road to the Highbury estate.

Last night, a team from Hampshire Constabulary carried out a search of the area looking for clues.

A wooded area was cordoned off until late last night

They emptied through bins near to the scene looking for the weapon.

Police believe it may have been a knife, although no weapon has yet been identified, according to officers.

Dog walkers in the area now say they will think again before taking their pets into the secluded woods.

Irene Willmett, who lives in nearby Firgrove Crescent, described the news as frightening.

She said: ‘We have always said it is isolated down there. I only live around the corner from where it happened.

‘I usually walk my dog around by the lido if I’m going alone.

‘If we go down there it’s when there’s two of us.

‘It is such a secluded place. As my garden backs on to it, it’s scary.

‘It is a really safe place to hide away.

‘It’s a nice place to walk the dogs but it is frightening that this could happen

‘It’s quite shocking to hear what has happened.’

Irene said she had heard helicopters in the afternoon and had seen police vehicles but had no idea what had happened.

Kayleigh Cooper and Jon Wilkinson said they will be considering not walking their dog again in the area after hearing what happened.

The couple from Peronne Close says they will change their walking habits in fear for safety for their young daughter.

Kayleigh said: ‘I have been put off going down there on my own.

‘We see lots of dog walkers and we know everybody who walks their dogs around here.

‘We walk down here twice a day so we must know the person. It’s really frightening.’

Jon added: ‘It’s times like this you wonder what your dog would do – if it would stand up for you.

‘When I go to work I have said to Kayleigh not to go down there.

‘We live just up the road. We didn’t hear anything going on.’

Police say two incidents could be linked

TEN days ago a woman was attacked by a man as she walked home.

The assault, which took place at 10.40pm last Friday, left the woman with a stab wound to the chest.

Police think the two stabbings may be connected.

The attack happened in Southampton Road, Wymering, near a bus stop and opposite a block of flats in Ashurst Road.

Detective inspector asks for public’s help

OFFICERS from Hampshire Constabulary are now searching to identify the knifeman.

They were called to the scene at around 11.20am yesterday.

Now they have spoken out and are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.

He is white, in his early 20s and wearing a blue hooded top with yellow writing and blue jeans.

Detective inspector Mark Tutton said: ‘This type of unprovoked attack is extremely unusual, particularly two similar incidents in the north of the city in just over a week.

‘We are obviously investigating the possibility that these are linked.

‘We need to identify the person responsible and I would encourage anyone who may be able to help us do this to contact us as soon as possible. We would also appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the assault to come forward.

‘Reassurance patrols by local Safer Neighbourhoods teams in the Hilsea area are ongoing.’

Anyone with information about either incident is asked to contact CID at Fratton police station on 101.

Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

MP urges anyone with details to speak out

CITY MP Penny Mordaunt has urged anyone with information about the two attacks to come forward.

Ms Mordaunt said people should ‘be on their guard’ and asked for anyone with suspicions to tell police.

She said: ‘This is obviously a distressing incident. To my knowledge the police have not issued any particular safety advice but I would say clearly if some of the incidents have been taking place in daylight, I think there’s very little people can do to protect themselves in that instance.

‘These incidents are very rare but I think people need to be on their guard and be as aware as they can be about what is going on.

‘I would urge anyone with information or suspicions or who have seen anyone acting suspiciously to report it to the police. Any details may be able to help police find the person who did this.’