Hunt for Armadale rapist goes nationwide

The e-fit released by Police Scotland of the man wanted in connection with the Armadale sexual assault. Picture: Police Scotland
The e-fit released by Police Scotland of the man wanted in connection with the Armadale sexual assault. Picture: Police Scotland

DETECTIVES hunting the West Lothian rapist are scouring the country in case he strikes again.

A 32-year-old woman was “horrifically” attacked as she jogged along a footpath next to the Armadale racetrack last Tuesday night.

Officers are trawling the national database in case the rapist had pounced before or might again.

“There’s always that concern,” said Detective Superintendent Pat Campbell. “That’s why we’ve got significant resources on this investigation from all over Scotland.

“We’re looking to identify similar incidents across the country. We’re not finding any just now but we’re keeping an open mind.

“We’re looking at whether he has the ability to travel the length and breadth of the country. We’re not just focused on this local area.

“Obviously it’s a concern that this person is outstanding just now and we’re looking to arrest him as soon as is reasonably practicable.”

Detectives have been receiving tip-offs from the public after releasing an image of the suspect a week on from the attack - with more than 20 names provided.

Officers also stopped about 90 cars on the nearby A801, speaking to drivers and handing out the image.

The man is described as white, about 40-years-old with large ears and dark or black wavy hair. He was wearing a black woollen jacket, black jeans and royal blue navy trainers and is believed to speak with a Scottish accent.

“It’s been a great response and pretty extensive,” said DS Campbell. “There are a number of names we’ve had in that have potential and we’re working through them to eliminate people from our inquiry.”

Some names were posted on social media, prompting a warning from DSI Campbell that it can cause “worry” in the community.

“There’s great interest and concern,” he added. “We’ve still got high visibility patrols down there.”

Detectives are also trawling CCTV from across the area in the hope it might capture the attacker fleeing the scene.

The “traumatised” married victim is being supported by specialist officers and other agencies following her ordeal.

Area commander Chief Inspector Barry Blair said: “Horrific crimes such as this remain rare within West Lothian.

“Nevertheless, we recognise the significant impact they can have on the community and local officers will be supporting the investigation.”

Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.