A VIOLENT thug tried to drag a woman into woodland exactly a week before an almost identical “sexually motivated” attack, it was revealed today.
The terrified woman, who did not come forward to tell police about her ordeal until persuaded to by a friend, was walking in the Warriston area, near Clark Road, when the attacker grabbed her from behind and punched her in the face.
He only gave up dragging her towards a hidden area when her dog started barking.
The vicious attack, on January 5 at around 2.15pm, was nearly identical to an assault one week later.
Last Thursday, a 24-year-old woman was walking along a footpath linking Gillespie Road to West Mill Road, in Colinton, when the thug grabbed her from behind, punched her in the face and tried to haul her into an isolated patch of woodland.
Similar to the previous attack, he did not say anything to his victim and fled the scene when he was interrupted.
The attacker was described as white, between 25-35 years, of medium build with an oval-shaped long face, very dark eyes and protruding ears. He was wearing dark jeans or trousers, a black or grey cotton hooded top, where the hood was a lighter colour than the rest of the jacket.
Police said they had now stepped up patrols in the areas following the attacks, which officers believed were “sexually motivated”.
The latest attack took place on Chancelot Path, 30 metres past its junction with the Ferry Road path, Golden Acre path and Hawthornvale path.
A police spokesman said: “As well as carrying out increased patrols in the areas where both assaults occurred, officers will be visiting the scene of each incident tomorrow afternoon in a bid to speak to pedestrians and gather information.”
Detective Inspector Gordon McCreadie said the description of the suspect was “very similar” in both cases and said officers were treating the incidents “hand in hand”.
DI McCreadie said: “The incidents were four miles apart but significantly they were both on walkways. Certainly the description of both suspects is similar and the method of attack is equally similar.
“There are significant similarities to investigate hand-in-hand. I think it would be fair to suggest we are viewing this as a sexual crime.
“After [the first victim] was attacked she was shaken, but decided not to report the incident for her own personal reasons.
“[In the latest incident] she struggled and made her escape. He was interrupted by a dog barking and that’s when he made off.”
He added: “We have to treat this very seriously.
“We’re going to carry out increased patrols in the area and are asking folk to apply common sense. Walk with somebody and perhaps carry an alarm.”
DI McCreadie pointed out that police were still keen to trace a couple that disturbed the attacker on January 12 who could offer a “significant lead”.
They are thought to be around 50 or 60 years of age and were wearing dark, waterproof clothing.
Police also said they wanted to speak to anyone who was using any of the walkways in the Warriston area on Thursday, January 5, who noticed anyone acting suspiciously to contact them immediately.
Anyone with information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131-311 3131.