Woman fights off would-be rapist in Leeds ginnel attack UPDATED

The ginnel where the woman was attacked. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
The ginnel where the woman was attacked. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Safety warnings have been issued by police after a woman fought off a predator who tried to rape her in a ginnel.

The 24-year-old was attacked after getting off the number 40 bus on Pendas Way, Cross Gates, Leeds, at about 9.35pm on Thursday.

The man dragged her into a ginnel near the junction with Pendas Grove and tried to pull her leggings down but she fought back and he ran off in the direction of John Smeaton Academy.

Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Atkinson, head of Leeds reactive CID, said: “This was a frightening experience for the victim who has been left very badly shaken by what happened. We believe the offender would have gone on to seriously sexually assault her if she hadn’t fought back.”

She said police had increased patrols in the area and added: “People should always think carefully about their personal safety when out a night. Ideally don’t walk alone and stick to well-lit areas.”

The attacker was described as white, about 5ft 9ins tall, of medium build and aged in his late thirties. He had short or shaved hair, short stubble on his face, a skinny nose and was said to have a head that was small for his body.

He was wearing a scruffy dark-coloured hooded top with the hood up and possibly tracksuit bottoms.

Det Chief Insp Atkinson added: “The victim is being supported by specialist officers and we are carrying out extensive enquiries to trace this man. The scene of the incident has undergone a forensic examination.

“We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area around the time and saw a man fitting this description either before or after the incident.”

The incident comes six weeks after the rape and attempted murder of an 18-year-old woman in Beeston Road, Beeston. She was beaten with a rock and assaulted before being left for dead on March 6.

But officers have so far ruled out a link between the two crimes. Det Chief Insp Atkinson said: “We have liaised with detectives that are investigating the attempted murder and serious sexual assault in Beeston and at this stage these offences are not being linked.

“We appreciate this incident will understandably cause concern in the community but we would like to reassure people that we are doing everything we can to identify the suspect.”

Anyone with information should call Leeds district CID via 101.