Video: Does new CCTV footage show moment Leeds rapist picked up rock used to attack teenager?
This previously unseen CCTV footage shows the rapist who left a woman for dead in Leeds shortly before he carried out his sickening attack.
The video was released today as police continue to hunt the man who grabbed an 18-year-old woman at a bus stop in Beeston before battering her with a rock and sexually assaulting her on March 6.
Shot by a camera at Napoleons Casino, off Kirkstall Road, at about 9.10pm it shows him walking towards Kirkstall Road and crossing to the central reservation, where he is seen to crouch down.
Det Supt Nick Walled, who is leading the inquiry, said: “At one point he is seen to stoop down and it is possible this could be him arming himself with the stone he used to attack the victim.”
Police have speculated it may capture the moment he picked up the rock that was used as a weapon in the attack 90 minutes later.
The predator stalked at least three women in the city centre and Burley areas before pouncing on his teenage victim on Beeston Road at 10.40pm.
She suffered serious head injuries and a fractured pelvis in the incident and is only thought to have escaped with her life because her head scarf and a hood she was wearing reduced the impact of the blows to her head.
Despite a number of potential leads, the investigation team has not had any specific information pointing to the man’s identity.
Det Supt Wallen added: “We have made a series of high profile appeals for information over the last two months and these have been very specifically focused on the physical description of the offender, including CCTV and e-fit images, his clothing, his potential ethnicity, his movements on the night of the attack, and other elements such as the stone he used as a weapon.
“While we have had a large amount of information from the public as a result of those appeals, we have not yet had that crucial call leading to his identity or whereabouts.
“Given the quality of the CCTV images, we think this is relatively unusual and we have asked ourselves what are the factors that would make somebody so apparently invisible to people living and working in the city.
“As part of our ongoing work with specialist offender profilers we have come up with five key factors that we would like people to think about and consider how they could point us towards physical areas or communities where the offender could have links.
“While we have a wealth of professional expertise in the investigation of serious crimes, no-one knows the communities of Leeds better than the people who live and work there and that knowledge could have an important part to play in helping us to find this man.”
Police say that, given that the DNA profile recovered from the victim is not on the UK’s database and has not yet been link to any other on European databases, the attacker may have been a recent arrival to the UK, either legally or illegally, probably from Eastern European, Asia or the Middle East.
They believe he did not have access to a vehicle and had potential links to the Beeston and Burley areas.
Det Supt Wallen added: “What we are asking people to consider is where would someone who had those particular characteristics find somewhere to stay in Leeds? Where would he being getting money from? What types of work might he be involved in? Where would he socialise? If he was only in Leeds that night, what work or other event would have brought him here?
“We are continuing to conducting extensive enquiries, including a targeted DNA swabbing operation, and it could be that someone’s local knowledge around these five factors could direct us to a potential avenue we have not yet considered looking down.”
So far the investigation has seen 1,056 potential lines of enquiry explored, 2,015 homes visited and 5,000 people spoken to, 427 DNA swabs taken and 375 males eliminated from the enquiry.
Det Supt Wallen said: “We remain absolutely determined to catch this man and although it is more than two months since the incident our resolve remains as strong as it was on day one.”
Further CCTV footage showing the offender on the night of the attack has also been released today. It shows him walking past Napoleon’s casino, in Kirkstall Road, before crossing the road.