Leigh Park attempted rape: Residents say 'it didn't look good' as sniffer dogs search area cordoned off

RESIDENTS living in a ‘quiet’ area of Leigh Park said it ‘didn’t look good’ after police cordoned off a popular dog walking spot following an attempted rape.

Sunday, 5th December 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th December 2021, 12:15 pm

Hampshire police have confirmed a 21-year-old woman was ‘grabbed’ by a man while walking near Heritage Stream towards Purbrook Way on Friday night.

A spokesman for the police said the man ‘attempted to rape her’ but she managed to ‘run off.’

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Leigh Park attempted rape arrest as woman, 21, 'grabbed' by man near stream

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Police at a pathway south of Purbrook Way in Leigh Park. Picture: Karl Browning

Detectives investigating the attempted rape have arrested a 57-year-old man in connection with the incident.

He has been released on conditional bail until later this month.

One resident of Purbrook Way, Jason Cowdrey, 28, told The News: ‘I didn’t know what had happened but there was a lot of speculation going around with people saying this, that or the other.

‘The police arrived Friday night and left yesterday evening, there were up to 10 cars.

The area of Leigh Park, off Purbrook Way, that was cordoned off for police investigations following an attempted rape on December 3, 2021.

‘The allegation going around was that there was a stabbing or a rape but no one really knew.’

His neighbour Terry Barney, 70, said: ‘I think the police were there all night and it was still cordoned off last night.

‘They don’t usually cordon something off unless it’s really bad so it was concerning. It’s unusual.’

Leigh Park resident, Christine Fereday, usually walks along Heritage Stream every day. The 64-year-old said: ‘I walk through here every day. When I walked down yesterday morning the police had locked it all off.

‘It’s normally a quiet area where people come to walk their dogs so I am surprised.’

And one woman who lives in Purbrook Way but wished to remain anonymous added: ‘All I know is the police were there all Friday night, they were parked all along the road. From what I could see it didn’t look good. They didn’t leave until it was dark last night.

‘But there were no ambulances at all.

‘They had police dogs out that were looking for stuff. They found something and covered it up.’

The area was cordoned off until Saturday evening following the attack at 7.45pm on Friday.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting Operation Sign.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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