Chapel Allerton sex attack: Police say woman's drink was not spiked and they will increase presence in bars
Police will increase their presence around bars in Chapel Allerton after a young woman was sexually assaulted while walking home from a night out.
Officers who held a public meeting for residents at Chapel Allerton Methodist Church on Wednesday evening said that detectives have so far been unable to identify the suspect on CCTV footage, and that the woman, who was captured on the cameras, is not thought to have been followed from a bar or pub.
The victim, aged in her 20s and from Chapeltown, passed the Lidl supermarket on Harrogate Road and turned left up King George Avenue, where the attack happened in the early hours of Saturday morning, rather than right down Chapeltown Road, and police said it is unclear why she walked in the opposite direction to her home.
Results from forensic analysis and further CCTV trawls are expected in the coming days, and no arrests have been made.
Patrols have already been stepped up in the streets near where the woman was assaulted, and neighbourhood officers will now stay in regular contact with door and security staff at local bars to improve women's safety.
They advised women who go out in Chapel Allerton to walk home in groups or pairs and not to get taxis alone, and recommended using location sharing apps.
Officers also confirmed that they do not believe the woman's drink was spiked during her evening out, and reassured attendees that no reports of drink spiking in venues in Chapel Allerton have been received.
They also reiterated that the incident was 'extremely rare and isolated' in the area, and that they could not recall anything of a similar nature happening in Chapel Allerton for over a decade.
Women present expressed concern at the amount of information made available to the public in the immediate aftermath of the incident, which had led to some to be unsure whether it was domestic-related or involved a man unknown to the victim, and uncertain of the wider threat level.
Residents concerned about poor street lighting and lack of CCTV coverage in the vicinity of King George Avenue and The Canadas were advised to contact Leeds City Council for assistance.
The suspect is described as a black man who was big and broad with large hands. He is said to be aged in his late thirties or forties and clean shaven.
Detectives are still asking for anyone who was in the area from around 12.30pm-2am and may have witnessed anything unusual, or who may have captured the suspect's movements on household CCTV or vehicle dashcam, to contact them.
The appeal is for anyone who was driving in Harrogate Road in Chapel Allerton, between the junctions of Harehills Lane and Stainbeck Lane, between 12.55am and 1.20am on Saturday, or in King George Avenue or Gledhow Park Drive, Chapel Allerton, between 12.55am and 2.15am.
Detective Inspector James Entwistle, of Leeds District CID, said: “We are treating this incident very seriously and are carrying out extensive enquiries to identify the suspect.
“We are continuing to trawl for CCTV in the area and are appealing for any drivers who have been in those locations between the times stated to check their dashcam footage. They may not have noticed the suspect at the time, but it is possible he could have been captured on their footage.
“The victim has been left understandably traumatised and we are doing everything we can to support her.
“We are also liaising closely with our colleagues on the local neighbourhood policing team who are increasing their patrols of the area to reassure people following this incident.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101 quoting Operation Brimdance or crime reference 13210585686 via 101 or online via www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat