A SILENT strangler pounced on a schoolgirl as she walked home from a party – leaving hand-shaped bruises on her neck.
The 16-year-old was hauled to the ground by a well-built suspect who wrapped his hands round her neck and tried to suffocate her. Detectives have revealed he never uttered a word throughout the attack, which has left the victim traumatised.
The plucky teen managed to fight off her assailant, slightly injuring herself in the process.
Officers have been trawling CCTV footage to get a lead on the incident which happened in Colinton Road – and said the attack could easily “have been worse” had the victim been unable to struggle free.
The officer leading the hunt, Detective Constable Marion Fraser, today urged anyone with information to contact her. She said: “The victim is only 16 and although she’s being supported by a strong network of family and friends, it’s obviously taken a toll.”
The teenager had just passed the junction of Lockharton Crescent when she became aware of someone behind her. The suspect grabbed her by both shoulders and dragged her to the ground, where a struggle ensued.
After he was fought off, he fled in the direction of Oxgangs while the girl phoned a family member, who raced to collect her.
DC Fraser added: “The teenager was at a party and was walking the short distance home along the well-lit street when she was grabbed. This man grabbed her round the neck and exerted enough pressure to leave bruises.
“The inquiry is at an early stage, so we are keeping an open mind about the motive. The man did not say anything to the victim.
“Colinton Road is a busy thoroughfare and there would have been people going home at that time of night. The attack lasted for about one minute and the victim was screaming and shouting, which someone may have heard.”
As well as the ugly bruising to her neck, she also suffered a cut mouth in her struggle to break free.
The suspect is aged between 17 and 21 years old, around 5ft 6in tall, with a slim but muscular build. He may have been wearing a faded blue zip-up hoody and black joggers, possibly Canterbury brand.
DC Fraser said: “The incident happened around ten minutes before the clocks went back, so this may jog memories.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, who represents the Colinton/Fairmilehead ward, said: “It’s shocking that an incident like this could happen. This must have been a terrifying incident for the girl, and I wish her and her family well. In one sense, despite how serious this attack was, we can only be grateful that it wasn’t worse.”
The attack happened at 1.50am on Sunday. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0131-311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.