Women should be on ‘alert’ after Portsmouth attacks

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Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

Man arrested in Portsmouth explosives probe at Stanhope Road student block is released by police

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WOMEN in Portsmouth are urged to be vigilant but stay calm after two city stabbings within 10 days.

The city’s top police officer, Superintendent Alison Heydari, has said women should be ‘alert but not alarmed’ as detectives renewed their plea for information to help snare the attacker.

Police have stepped up patrols following the two unprovoked stabbings.

As reported, a 45-year-old local dog walker needed hospital treatment after she was stabbed in the chest on a footpath running along the Ports Creek shoreline in Hilsea at about 11.20am yesterday.

The attacker fled the scene.

She has now been discharged.

Detectives are linking the stabbing to an attack on a 20-year-old local woman who received a chest injury during an assault as she walked in Southampton Road, Paulsgrove, opposite a block of flats at about 10.40pm on June 20.

Both victims were possiblystabbed with a knife, although police have said the exact weapon used has not yet been confirmed.

Supt Heydari said: ‘I’d like to recognise and thank both women for their actions in the immediate aftermath of these assaults. They showed courage in attempting to defend themselves, and then reporting what happened promptly to police despite their distress and injuries.’

She added: ‘We understand the effect that these assaults may have on other women in the city. Extra concern and caution for yourself and your family are understandable in such circumstances.

‘I’d like to reassure the public that attacks of this nature are unusual in Portsmouth, and we’re doing all we can to bring the offender to justice.

‘Our advice to women in Portsmouth is to be alert but not alarmed. Continue your daily lives and business as you would normally, and report any suspicious behaviour you notice.’

The suspect is white and in his late teens to early 20s.

In the attack on June 20 he wore a dark woollen beanie hat, dark jumper and dark tracksuit bottoms. In the second attack he wore a blue hooded top with yellow writing and blue jeans.

Call 101 quoting Operation Bedham, email operation.bedham@hampshire.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.