Neighbours’ fears after sex attacker assaults 16-year-old girl in Portsmouth

The e-fit image released by police

The e-fit image released by police

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NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their fear after a teenage girl suffered injuries from an assault while walking at night.

The 16-year-old was walking from the bus stop on London Road, Hilsea on a footpath past Hilsea Lido towards the Mountbatten Centre on Wednesday when she was indecently assaulted by a man.

Those that live in the area have voiced concerns over the footpath that runs past Hilsea Lido and round the shoreline, which they say is not somewhere they feel safe walking at night.

Maria McGahey, 32, of Hilsea said: ‘I was going to walk down here yesterday by myself so it does not make me feel safe. I’ve lived here since I was five but I would never walk around here at night past five or six o’clock.’

Claire Butcher, 40, lives on Spinnaker Drive, which leads on to the footpath where the young girl was attacked.

‘There’s no cameras down there, they should put cameras in down there and most definitely lighting because it’s an area where people can lurk and pounce on you,’ she said.

‘It’s dark, I would never go down there on my own at night, it terrifies me.

‘I wouldn’t go down there at four o’clock let alone nine. Didn’t her parents say to her “don’t walk anywhere on your own in the dark?” My mum always said that to me and I’m 40 now and it still sticks.’

Detectives have released an e-fit image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the incident.

Portsmouth North Inspector Claire Taylor said: ‘This incident is very concerning and we’re doing all we can to identify the offender.

‘My teams are conducting additional patrols in the area over the next few evenings.

‘I’d also reiterate our personal safety advice to avoid walking alone in secluded areas in darkness and always let someone know where you are and what time you will be home.

‘Please be alert and report anything suspicious to us.’

The suspect was white, in his 20s, clean-shaven, slim, had a strong Portsmouth accent, and was less than 6ft tall.

Anyone who saw the assault, that happened between 9pm and 9.15pm, is asked to call police on 101.

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