Student linked with sex attack flees back to India

Police at Pilrig park where the woman was attacked
Police at Pilrig park where the woman was attacked
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AN Indian student being sought by police in connection with a brutal sex attack on a woman who was found injured in Pilrig Park has fled back to his homeland.

The authorities are liaising with police in India in a bid to trace the 25-year-old and have him extradited back to Scotland. The UK has a tortuous extradition process in place with India, but it is understood the Scottish authorities are hopeful the man will be sent back to Edinburgh for questioning by police.

It is believed the man caught a flight to India shortly after the sexual assault on the 23-year-old victim.

A warrant for the man was issued earlier this week.

The woman was taken to hospital with serious facial injuries following the attack early on Sunday.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “A warrant has been issued for a 25-year-old male and as proceedings are active it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed that the warrant for a 25-year-old man remained active.

The woman had been out with friends in the city centre and left the HMV Picture House nightclub on Lothian Road at around 3am on 
Sunday to return home.

The victim was recorded on CCTV making her way to the west end of Princes Street before walking east.

Two members of the public found the injured woman, who is from Edinburgh, in a playground in Pilrig Park at around 6am and called for an ambulance. She is undergoing treatment for her injuries in hospital.

Extra uniformed police patrols were conducted in the park, and door-to-door inquiries were carried out in the area. An examination of the scene was conducted by forensic specialists and officers have been visiting businesses, community groups and churches in the hope of finding witnesses.

A police van has been parked beside the park since the incident to reassure the community and to provide a focal point for potential witnesses to come forward.

Detectives also appealed for help in tracing a rickshaw driver who may have given a lift to the victim before the incident. The rickshaw driver had been spotted on Leith Walk turning into Pilrig Street at around 3.30am.

Officers also worked with bosses at the HMV Picture House to try to establish if anyone approached her in the nightspot.

DI Cunningham, who is leading the investigation, said that the victim had suffered a “deeply traumatic” ordeal, and was being supported by her family.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to investigate a sexual assault on a 19-year-old woman at around 3am on Sunday in the Fishmarket Close area. No arrests have been made in the case and officers said it was not linked to the Pilrig Park incident.

A police spokeswoman said: “Inquiries are still ongoing.”

FOREIGN COURT CONDUCTS HEARING

INDIA is listed as a “part two territory” under the UK’s Extradition Act 2003 and the countries signed an extradition treaty in 1993.

Part one territories include EU member states who operate the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system without state involvement.

Part two territories, which also includes the United States, require a more difficult series of tests and processes to be met. Prosecutors must collate the information in the case so that an extradition request can be made.

Upon arrest in the requested state, the foreign court conducts the extradition hearing in accordance with their legislation. The foreign authority, usually the national prosecution service, will represent the UK during proceedings.

UK authorities must also enlist the help of local police forces to make an arrest.