Charges over sex assaults in Meadows

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POLICE have charged a man with a pair of sexual assaults in the Meadows area, but those responsible for the rape of a teenage girl and a sex attack on a female jogger in the park remain at large.

A 41-year-old man was arrested on Sunday by police investigating a sex assault on a woman in Causewayside last Thursday.

The man was later charged with another sex assault on a woman in the Meadows on November 15 – the same day that a 19-year-old girl was raped in the park.

It is understood that police are keeping an open mind, but are not linking the arrested man to the other sex attacks.

Police only became aware of the attack on November 15 when the victim came forward following recent publicity over the Meadows rape.

Lothian and Borders Police issued an open letter to students and residents in response to the incidents, advising them not to walk alone in the Meadows at night, while officers are carrying out extra patrols in the area.

The arrested man appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday to face sexual assault charges along with a breach of a sexual offence prevention order (Sopo).

He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody, with his next court appearance expected to be on Tuesday.

A police spokeswoman said: “A 41-year-old man was arrested and charged on Sunday in connection with alleged sexual assaults in the Meadows on November 15 and Causewayside on December 1.”

The rape victim had been walking home along a path in the Meadows when she was attacked by two men wearing hooded tops at around 3.30am on November 15. The attack took place in an area of ground north of Melville Drive.

A week later, a 21-year-old jogger was running past the tennis courts when she was grabbed by a man and forced to the ground.

The man sexually assaulted her, but the victim managed to fight him off and he fled towards Buccleuch Street following the incident, which happened between 6.50pm and 7pm.

The suspect is described as being around 30 years old, 5ft 10in tall, and dark-skinned, possibly of Indian appearance. He was clean-shaven and was wearing a grey hooded top.

A “Reclaim the Night” march was held beside the Meadows following these attacks, with organisers rallying people to take to the streets of the Capital to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

In a letter sent to the Edinburgh University Students Association, police advised that residents could take “basic crime prevention advice” by avoiding walking alone, sticking to well-lit routes covered by CCTV, carrying a mobile phone and alerting police to anyone’s suspicious behaviour.

A special hotline has been set up at Edinburgh University for people to call to arrange a chaperone as part of the “walking bus” scheme. A team of volunteers is based in the computer lab in the Hugh Robson Building in George Square to take calls from students looking to be accompanied home.