Officers flood city in hammer attack suspect manhunt
TWO weeks after a '˜life-changing' hammer attack on a 17-year-old girl a suspect spotted on CCTV is at large.
A major effort to find the man saw a police reconstruction retracing his steps with a look-alike in the days prior to the brutal assault.
Pompey fans were asked for their help with the appeal being screened at the Wycombe game at Fratton Park.
Detectives are still offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and successful prosecution. They also released new CCTV pictures.
On Saturday, as the look-alike walked around Queen Street, Edinburgh Road and Commercial Road in Portsmouth between 10am and 11.30am, 30 police officers handed out appeal flyers.
A suspect was spotted on CCTV in the area on April 9, two days before the attack in Shearer Road, Buckland, just before 7pm on April 11.
Speaking to The News Detective Sergeant Lisa Cronin, of major crime, said: ‘It’s very important we find this person. A 17-year-old girl has been seriously attacked and while we believe it to be an isolated incident, we don’t want any dangerous offenders to be in the public domain.
‘There’s nothing to suggest he’s going to attack anyone else but at the same time it’s important for us to arrest him.
‘The reconstruction is designed to jog the memory of people who may have been in the area on April 9, when we believe the suspect was.’
Police want anyone with dashcam footage in the area to come forward.
The suspect was wearing a charcoal grey hooded top, cap and sunglasses, and had a ginger or brown beard when he was spotted on CCTV.
On Saturday the look-alike went into Carphone Warehouse and the O2 shop in Commercial Road at around 11am, following in the suspect’s steps.
Robert Holly, 68, of Warblington Street, Old Portsmouth, was handed a flyer at the weekend.
He said: ‘They’ve certainly flooded the area, I haven’t seen so many police for ages.
‘They’re obviously very serious about it.’
His wife Gillian, 80, added: ‘It’s despicable, we’re hopeful they will catch this person.’
Little information has been made public about the attack, but police say they believe it is a one-off.
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting Operation Gather, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.