Police hunt distinctive man after woman pounced on in cemetery

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POLICE are hunting a fat sex attacker with a black beard and frizzy hair who pounced on a woman who was surveying trees in a city cemetery.

Detectives believe the distinctive description of the suspect may prove key to the inquiry as they appealed for anyone who recognises the man to come forward.

The 23-year-old victim bravely managed to fight off the man who grabbed her as she worked in broad daylight at the North Merchiston Cemetery in Gorgie.

Police said she was “not badly injured” during the assault, but that she had been left shaken up by her ordeal.

The woman managed to give police a detailed description of the man during an interview following the attack while CCTV checks and door-to-door inquiries were conducted in the local area.

The victim had been sent to survey trees in the cemetery beside Ardmillan Terrace when the incident took place at around 2pm on Monday.

The suspect made sexual remarks to the woman after approaching her as she worked before seizing hold of her.

The victim was pushed to the ground before struggling with the attacker who finally got up and ran off towards the east side of the cemetery.

Officers are treating the incident as a sexual assault due to the crude remarks the suspect made in the moments before he grabbed the victim.

Police today appealed to anyone who recognises the description of the suspect to contact the force.

The suspect is described as white, 5ft 5in tall, late 20s to early 30s, fat, with frizzy dark hair and a black beard. He wore a dark top, and light coloured trousers or grey tracksuit bottoms.

A police spokesman said: “While the victim was not badly injured, she was understandably shaken as a result of her ordeal, and we are appealing for any information that can help us trace the suspect.

“Anyone who was in the area of North Merchiston Cemetery yesterday afternoon, who noticed anyone acting suspiciously there, should contact police.

“Similarly, anyone else who recognises the description of the suspect, or who has any other information that can assist our inquiries, should also get in touch.”

Councillor Andrew Burns said: “Our thoughts first of all go the victim of this terrible ordeal and we all hope that she recovers as quickly as possible from what has happened.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information which could help trace the man responsible to contact the authorities. Their information may proved vital in solving this crime.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.

amcewen@edinburghnews.com