Sex attacker may still be on the prowl warn police

Police seeking to identify this man.Picture: Comp

Police seeking to identify this man.Picture: Comp

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A SEX attacker who indecently assaulted two women living less than a mile apart may still be prowling the area, detectives have warned. Witnesses have reported seeing a suspect matching the predator’s description loitering in

Livingston in recent weeks despite beefed up police patrols in Eliburn and Ladywell.

It comes as police today released an e-fit image of a man they are looking to trace. Officers have advised women walking alone at night to exercise “extreme caution” as the hunt continues. He is believed to be behind two late-night sex attacks in two months.

In the first incident, a 20-year-old woman was smoking a cigarette when she was attacked by a man who had been hiding in bushes. She managed to fight him off and he fled into nearby woodland.

Just five weeks later on May 7, a woman was indecently assaulted by the same man after he broke into her flat. The 27-year-old was left “traumatised” after waking to find him in her bedroom.

Detectives said forensic evidence recovered from both crime scenes had yielded an identical DNA profile of the suspect.

But it is understood a search of the national criminal database failed to unearth a match.

Detective Superintendent Pat Campbell said “tensions are running high” but extra officers are continuing to patrol the neighbourhoods.

He said: “We’re keeping an open mind over whether the man is local. He appears to have at least knowledge of the area with the lanes connecting together streets and the forested area.”

Det Supt Campbell added: “The e-fit was put together by a witness who observed a man fitting the description a short time after the [May 7] attack.

He may have had a legitimate reason to be in the area, such as being an early morning worker. That’s why we want to trace this person to see if they can be eliminated from our inquiry.”