Serial rapist targeting women on London night buses: 'A dangerous individual'

Lizzie Dearden

Police are hunting for a serial sex attacker after four women were assaulted and robbed in east London.

Two women have been raped after getting off night buses and two other victims have been robbed since 1 July.

Detectives fear the “dangerous individual” will strike again and have warned women walking alone at night to remain vigilant.

The first attack was reported at 2.40am on 1 July, by a woman who had been walking home down a residential street in the Plaistow South area of Newham.

The 35-year-old woman was approached from behind by a man, who then raped her and stole her possessions.

The second attack was on 6 July at around 3.30am near Leyton Tube station, where a woman was followed and robbed by a man who “made sexual advances towards her”, the Metropolitan Police said.

The third incident was reported less than an hour later, at 4.20am, in nearby Amethyst Road.

Police said a 31-year-old woman was approached by a man who then raped her and stole her property.

In the fourth incident, police were called at 3.30am on 11 July to Central Park Road in East Ham.

A 31-year-old woman reported that she was followed by a man who threatened her and attempted to rape her. He also stole the woman’s property.

Police said they were treating all incidents as linked due to the similarities between attacks.

The two women who were raped had first been approached as they got off night buses from central London, with the suspect asking them: “Where are you going?”

“It would appear the male is targeting lone females using the public transport network and hubs,” Detective Superintendent Andrew Packer told the Evening Standard.

An image of a man police would like to trace (Metropolitan Police)

“The women are similar in that they are coming home from work in central London bars and restaurants.

“He starts with a bit of conversation, asking ‘where are you going?’ The language then turns explicit.

“I would like to speak to any woman who has been approached by a similar man who made her feel awkward.”

Scotland Yard said victims were being supported by specially trained officers and extra patrols have been carried out in the areas where the attacks took place.

“Police reiterate advice to any lone women walking alone at night to remain vigilant, to be mindful of their surroundings, and to keep family and friends informed of where they may be going,” a spokesperson said.

Investigators have released footage of a man they want to trace, showing him walking down a road wearing ripped jeans, a camouflage top and dark jacket shortly before the attack on 6 July. No arrests have been made.

Det Supt Packer said: “This moving footage is a great opportunity to have detailed look at this suspect. Do you think you recognise him? If so it is imperative that you contact us.

”I am convinced that there will be a member of the public who takes a good close look at this footage and thinks 'wait a minute, that looks a lot like...'. All I need is a name. If you think you know who this man is, please don't delay - contact my team right away.”

Anyone who can identify the man is asked to call the investigation team on 07881 330951, call 101, tweet @MetCC or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.