Detectives in Southampton investigation the rape of an 18-year-old woman have released CCTV in an appeal to identify the man they are looking to trace.
The woman was followed by a man along Wessex Lane and Woodmill Lane before she was raped in Riverside Park between 11.30pm and 11.50pm on Sunday 2 December.
The CCTV footage here shows the woman, blurred out in the first circle, walking along Wessex Lane towards Woodmill Lane at 11.32pm.
The figure highlighted in the second circle, following shortly behind, is the man we are looking to identify. He appears 23 seconds into the footage.
The man has been described as white, in his 30s and tall with a medium build and he is said to be speak with a southern English accent. He had stubble on his face and top lip, like he hadn’t shaven for a few days, and he had a wide mouth. His hair is described as medium coloured brown and shaven all over, like a grade 1. He was wearing a dark green top with a hood and dark trainers.
Detective Inspector Matt Barcraft-Barnes said: “We are looking to trace the man in this footage. We know it’s dark and we can’t see his face, but you might recognise the way he walks together with this description.
“I would like to say thank you to those people so far who have responded to our appeals. It’s really important we find this man. In response to our appeals to the public, two more women have reported being followed along Woodmill Lane prior to this offence on two separate occasions. The first incident happened on November 14 at 9.15pm. The second happened on Dec 1 just after 11.30pm, 24 hours before an 18-year-old woman was raped in Riverside Park. Both women were followed but not attacked. We now believe all three incidents involve the same man.
“This man is seen on three occasions on Woodmill Lane. I am appealing directly to people that use Riverside Park and the Woodmill Lane aware on a regular basis. We now believe this man most likely smokes and walks whilst drinking from a can or bottle. Do you recognise this description? Do you own a business in the local area and have you seen someone that looks like this recently? Have you served him cigarettes or alcohol from a shop or pub? Has a man matching this description come to you for a haircut, asking for a short grade?
“Also, there are two cars featured in this clip that are travelling towards Woodmill Lane. The first appears to be a white or silver hatchback, the second looks like a dark coloured saloon. We really want to identify the drivers of these vehicles, you could be key witnesses.
“If you have any information, material or footage that can help, please dial 101 and quote Operation Scorch or 44180450724.”
Officers from the Southampton North Neighbourhood Policing Team continue to patrol the area regularly. Chief Inspector Phil Lamb said: “We continue to be visible in the Riverside and Woodmill areas. If you have any concerns, please come and talk to us. Our advice remains the same, stay vigilant, try to avoid walking anywhere at night on your own and don’t be tempted to look down at your phone or plug your headphones when it's dark, these can limit your awareness of your surroundings. Report anyone behaving suspiciously to 101 or 999.”
If you have any information, please contact us on 101, quoting reference number 44180450724
In an emergency, call 999.