Man arrested over attacks on women in Portsmouth

Police officers at Athena Avenue. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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POLICE have arrested a man from Waterlooville in connection with the stabbing of three women in the north of Portsmouth.

OFFICERS have arrested a man from Waterlooville in connection with the stabbing of three women in the north of Portsmouth.

Forensic examiners in the alleyway where the woman was attacked

Forensic examiners in the alleyway where the woman was attacked

The attacks happened within a three week period of each other and all involved women walking alone when they were approached and stabbed — two of them in the chest.

The first attack took place in Southampton Road, Cosham, last month.

Yesterday, a third woman was attacked in an alleyway between Colwell Road and Northern Road in Wymering.

The victim was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Hours later, a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent. He remains in custody.

Following the lunchtime attack, part of the King George V playing fields were cordoned off, with armed police at the scene.

Office workers in nearby 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour were warned not to go outside alone following the incident.

Colwell Road was cordoned off during the afternoon and into the evening last night, with officers looking through bins and gardens, and even searching drains for clues.

Forensics officers were also present, paying close attention to the alleyway where the stabbing took place.


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Residents living close to the scene spoke of their shock and concerns of women in the area being targeted in what can now be revealed to be three linked stabbing attacks.

Craig and Jackie Knott say they are now making sure they are together to walk their dog, Munch, following the attacks.

Jackie said: ‘We are very scared. I saw all the police when I was walking my dog earlier.

‘I think people around here are really worried by what has happened.

‘We don’t know the full details but whatever has happened, there have been quite a few attacks on women recently.

‘After the one in Hilsea, I changed my routes walking the dog to more public places.

‘I usually walk around this area with no worries but after today, I am scared.’

Her husband added: ‘We will only be taking the dog out together.

‘She used to go out at 10 or 11 at night but we won’t be doing that any more.

‘I make sure she has got a phone with her if she’s going anywhere.’

Terence White, who lives in nearby Totland Road, said police had been knocking on doors asking if residents had witnessed the attack.

‘I don’t let my wife go out on her own,’ he said.

‘As soon as I heard about the first stabbing, we were more aware of what was going on.

‘I have two dogs which I normally walk on my own, but I will be more conscious now this has happened so close.’

Lacey Peters, who lives in Sandown Road and works at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, said the thought of a woman being attacked so close to home was ‘scary’.

She said: ‘QA staff got an email from the police this morning about the two stabbings and now this has happened.

‘It’s awful because they are all women being targeted. I feel really scared now.

‘I just want them to catch whoever is behind this.’

Jenny Moore, who also lives in nearby Sandown Road, said: ‘They have cordoned it off in the past because there was an incident down the alleyway before.

‘It has happened in broad daylight; it’s a bit frightening.’

Maureen Clark, from Freshwater Road, said: ‘I walk my dog down there. I’m quite nervous. It’s horrendous. You just don’t feel safe.’

Simon Hayes, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, said he is being kept fully briefed by the force’s major investigation team.

‘I think the first thing to say is this is the third incident, which is very concerning,’ he said.

‘I have been fully briefed on what has happened and the investigation surrounding it.

‘I am confident that the police are making progress on this case.

‘The police have taken this very seriously and are reassuring the public.

‘I know there have been a number of days between the attacks and the police have been doing work since then the last one in order to find out who has been behind these attacks.’ Yesterday’s stabbing was the third in a series of attacks on women walking alone in public places.

The first assault took place at around 10.40pm on Friday, June 20, when a 20-year-old woman was walking along Southampton Road, opposite a block of flats on Ashurst Road, when she was approached from behind and assaulted.

She sustained a chest injury, which police say was serious but not life-threatening.

In the second incident, a 45-year-old woman was approached by a man along the shoreline of Ports Creek in Hilsea, to the east of the footbridge which crossed from Peronne Road to the Highbury estate.

The man carried out an assault, resulting in the victim suffering a stab wound to her chest.

The man ran off towards Hilsea Lines.

Officers are still seeking witnesses to come forward with more information about all three attacks.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton police station on 101 quoting Operation Bedham.

Alternatively, call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.