Portsmouth stabbings: Man released

Investigations in Colwell Road on Friday
Investigations in Colwell Road on Friday
Teacher Catherine Smith, headteacher Polly Honeychurch and police and crime commissioner Michael Lane with Year 10 pupils and the Heartstone Odyssey book at Cottage Grove Primary School, Portsmouth     Picture: Habibur Rahman

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A MAN arrested in connection with three stabbings in Portsmouth has been released without charge.

The 30-year-old, from Waterlooville, was the first person to be arrested in connection with the attacks on lone women, which have taken place over the last fortnight in the north of the city.

He was arrested on Friday night, shortly after the most recent attack, which happened in an alleyway between Colwell Road and Northern Road in Cosham.

Tonight police have said that he has been released from police custody and that no further action will be taken against him.

A statement said: ‘After extensive enquiries, Hampshire Constabulary is satisfied that this man was not responsible for any of the three assaults in Portsmouth.’

A second person, a 17-year-old youth from Hilsea, was arrested on Sunday in connection with the three attacks.

Police have now been granted more time to question him and he can be held until 1.40am on Wednesday.

Officers say increased police patrols remain in place to provide reassurance.

Police also say that additional officers are making enquiries, giving updates to members of the public, and acting promptly on new information received.

The first assault took place at about 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 was stabbed in the chest, suffering an injury which was serious but not life-threatening.

In the second incident shortly after 11am on Sunday, June 29, a 45-year-old woman was approached by a man along the shoreline of Ports Creek in Hilsea, east of the footbridge which crosses from Peronne Road to the Highbury estate. The man stabbed the woman in the chest and then ran off towards Hilsea Lines.

In the third stabbing, shortly after 1pm on Friday, a 66-year-old woman who was walking in an alleyway between Colwell Road and Northern Road in Cosham was attacked. She is recovering at home with her family.

Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 and quoting Operation Bedham. Mini-com users can phone 1800 101. Information can be given anonymously by phoning the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.