Police release CCTV footage of suspected Leeds sex attacker

CCTV image of suspect in yesterday's sex attack on the canal towpath in Leeds.
CCTV image of suspect in yesterday's sex attack on the canal towpath in Leeds.
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Detectives investigating an attack on a woman on the canal towpath in Leeds have released CCTV footage of the suspect.

The incident occurred at about 6am yesterday beside the Leeds Liverpool Canal, near to a lock on the stretch of canal that runs between the A58 in the city centre to Viaduct Road.

The 39-year-old victim was out running when the man ran up behind her and sexually assaulted her before blocking her path and making threats.

A struggle ensued and she fell to the ground. The man put his arm around her neck and she lost consciousness. When she came to a short time later she was behind a wall with the towpath on the other side.

She saw the man climbing back over the wall and running off along the towpath towards the city centre. He was caught on nearby CCTV.

He is described as white, around 5ft 10ins tall, slim, with brown hair and stubble as though he had not shaved for a couple of days.

He had an English accent and was said to have a growling voice.

He was thought to be wearing black cotton jogging bottoms and a dark or black bodywarmer which had a white logo on one side of the chest. The hood of his bodywarmer was up throughout the assault.

Detective Chief Inspector Elizabeth Belton, from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “This was clearly a terrifying experience for the victim, with the attacker holding her so tightly around her neck that she passed out. We believe he only stopped the attack because he was disturbed by other people passing by.

“We need to identify this man as a matter of urgency and I would ask anyone who recognises him from the CCTV images to contact us immediately.

“Prior to the incident we believe this man was sat on a bench in the same area of the canal towpath and I would appeal to anyone who saw him there to get in touch.”

“Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team are continuing to conduct increased patrols in the area to provide visible reassurance to people using the towpath.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101 or call the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.