Cowley Road sexual assault leads to arrest

Local News News

A 22-year-old man is suspected of sexually assaulting a woman just off the Cowley Road at 9pm on Monday 5th May.

The suspect, who has now been released on bail until the 10th June, allegedly grabbed a 20-year-old woman around the waist from behind as she was walking down Cowley Road. 

After pulling her into an alleyway opposite Marsh Road, he sexually assaulted her before she escaped.

Students expressed their concerns over the incident. A first-year student at Queen’s, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I often walk back from Iffley and the alleyways really aren’t somewhere you want to be at night.”

Another said: “I used to live on Iffley Road, and while I never personally felt that my safety was threatened, I know of some people who did get followed home on a semi-frequent basis.”

“I’m pleased to hear the police have been able to act swiftly in this case,” she added.

Cowley Road has been plagued by a number of crimes recently, with the police shutting down a pub following a drugs raid on Friday night and a further report of sexual assault back in February. 

The police.uk website reports that throughout 2013, the violence and sexual offences crime rate in East Oxford was above average for the Thames Valley force area.

The most recent British Crime Survey estimated that 11 per cent of victims report the assault to the police, while 40% never tell anyone.

A woman’s welfare rep from one college said: “Oxford always feels like such a safe place; it’s so small and you know so many people.

“That means people are less vigilant when it comes to dangers such as sexual assault. Students don’t seem to realise that it happens as often as it does. 

“Even in Oxford it’s important to exercise caution and judgment, especially at night on the way home from clubs, just as if you were in any busy town, and to be aware and walk home with someone.”