Woman sexually assaulted in Cowley

Police have reported that a woman was sexually assaulted earlier this week near Cowley Road.

The 29 year old was victim of an attempted rape early on Sunday morning, in an alleyway between Shelley Road and Boundary Brook Road.

The attack comes just one week after statistics released by the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) found that out of 960 registered sex offenders living in Thames Valley, 282 are currently living in Oxfordshire.

The Thames Valley Probation website maintains that “the only significant change is to the number of Registered Sex Offenders who have been cautioned or convicted for breaching notification requirements”.

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson emphasized that the number of sex offenders living in the area is unlikely to have any bearing on this latest incident, as it would have been perpetrated by someone not on the register.

Upmystreet statistics show that there are 1.5/1000 sexual offences in Oxford, in comparison with the national average of 1/1000. The spokesperson asserted that sexual assaults in Oxford are “one of our priorities”.

The offender was described by police as “a man of middle eastern origin, aged about 22, about 5ft 10ins and of large build. He has short hair and a closely shaven beard, spoke with a foreign accent, and was wearing a tracksuit.”

Investigating officer Det Sgt Matt Jarman said: “The offender is believed to have come to the assistance of the woman shortly before the incident, when she received some unwanted attention from some men in Cowley Road, near to the junction of Howard Street. He is thought to have walked with her along Howard Street and Cricket Road, before assaulting her in an alleyway off Shelley Road. She managed to call police and the man ran off. Thankfully she wasn’t injured, but has been left understandably shaken by the incident.”

He concluded: “We’re keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident, thinks they saw the man with the victim prior to it, or has any other information which may assist us with our investigation.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the investigation “is ongoing and is not being linked to any other offences at this time.”

Oxford recently saw a ‘Reclaim the Night’ march take place at Gloucester Green,  raising awareness about sexual assaults in the Oxford area. The campaign aims to raise awareness that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and must end.

LGBT Officer for OUSU, Katie Colliver, said “to me, it is unacceptable for women to be intimidated into remaining in the house, we should not have to stay hidden to feel safe, as one of the chants on Friday went, ‘we have the right to walk the streets at night without the fear of rape’”.

A second year history and politics student recalled walking down Cowley Road in the early hours of the morning after missing the last bus: “I’m never doing it again. I got most of the way down when a random guy pulled up and asked me where I was going. He then proceeded to drive slowly along with me and pester me, repeatedly offering me a ride home. It was terrifying, never again.”