Police issue new appeal over Balerno sex attack

Detective Inspector Grant Johnston at the scene of the attack. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Detective Inspector Grant Johnston at the scene of the attack. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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POLICE have had no leads in a manhunt for a sex attacker despite a three-month investigation and an appeal on the Crimewatch website.

Police yesterday again renewed their appeal to find the attacker, who assaulted a teenage girl, in Balerno, in August.

The 19-year-old had been walking home on Newmills Road, when she was attacked from behind, threatened and dragged into a nearby field.

Police invited the media to see the spot where the attack happened yesterday and journalists looked on the field where the harrowing attack happened.

Despite the fact the field is overlooked by houses, and there has been repeated appeals, including on the Crimewatch website, last week – still no leads have been established.

A full DNA profile of the suspect has now been obtained but police said they need public assistance to pin down who was responsible and bring them to justice. It is thought the attack may have been linked to another on Craiglockhart Road earlier in August.

That victim had just got off a bus after finishing work in the city centre and was walking through the quiet residential area when she was targeted.

The attacker approached her from behind and made verbal threats before dragging her to a wooded area at the edge of a nearby field.

Detective Inspector Grant Johnston revisited the site yesterday, where he urged anyone with information to come forward.

He said: “We are now three months on from the attack and have a full DNA profile of the suspect.

“I am asking anyone who knows who is responsible, or suspects that they may know who is responsible to get in touch with us.

“From the DNA evidence we can quickly eliminate someone suspected of the inquiry but not responsible.

“This is an unusual case in that we have a full DNA profile and we have been unable to match that profile as of yet.”

The victim had just got off a bus after finishing work in the city centre and was walking through the quiet residential area when she was targeted.

The suspect approached her from behind and made verbal threats before dragging her to a wooded area at the edge of a nearby field.

Detective Inspector Grant Johnston added: “I’m looking to trace the occupants of a light-coloured five-door saloon car that we seen around the time of the incident, further down Newmills road, near to the railway line. They may hold vital information and I am asking that the occupants come forward – three or four people are thought to have been in that car.”

The man is aged between 20 and 30 with long hair