Meadows rapist ‘dressed as jogger to blend in’

Police officers stand guard at Middle Meadow Walk as the investigation into the weekend rape continues. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
Police officers stand guard at Middle Meadow Walk as the investigation into the weekend rape continues. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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A MAN dressed as a jogger is being sought after a teenage girl was raped on the Meadows as she walked home from a night out.

The 19-year-old victim was walking through Middle Meadow Walk on her way back from the Cowgate and Niddry Street area between 6.50am and 7.10am on Saturday when a man knocked her to the ground near Jawbone Walk and subjected her to a “horrific” assault.

A member of the public came to the woman’s aid and officers believe the Good Samaritan may have interrupted the attacker and caused him to flee.

Detective Chief Inspector Alwyn Bell told the Evening News: “It is getting light at that time and it is much more rare for something like this to happen rather than in the middle of the night.

“We are aware there were joggers, dog walkers and people going to work at that time.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that is individual has blended into the background as a jogger.”

Police have released a new description of the attacker, who is said to be white, aged between 20 and 30 years old, of medium build, and between 5ft 4in and 5ft 9in tall.

He was wearing a black beanie-style hat, with a black zipped-up tracksuit top and dark coloured trousers.

Two witnesses have said they spotted a man of this description running away along Middle Meadow Walk, said DCI Bell.

He urged people to come forward if their partner came home that morning with “dirty clothes or dirty hands”, and was behaving unusually.

This is the third sex attack in the Capital in a week, but police have stressed it was an isolated incident and it is not related to sex attacks in Gilmerton and Leith Links on Thursday morning.

DCI Bell said: “Assaults in Edinburgh are rare and it is still a safe place to live and socialise in.

“There are a number of high-visibility patrols being conducted in the Meadows area to reassure the public and a full investigative team is looking into this.

“This has been a horrific attack on a young woman and she is understandably extremely distressed at this time.”

Self-defence classes were suggested for students following a string of incidents on the Meadows two years ago when a 19-year-old woman was raped and a 21-year-old jogger was sexually assaulted in the same week.

Action must be taken to ensure the Meadows does not become a “no-go zone”, said Meadows and Morningside Tory councillor Mark McInnes.

He said: “Obviously it is horrendous news that this attack has happened.

“When the attacks happened two years ago, the council and the police worked closely together to ensure that women felt safe walking across the Meadows.

“This is an important thoroughfare for the south of Edinburgh and it can’t become a no-go zone. Women need to be able to walk though it with confidence.”

A 26-year-old man has been charged following a sexual assault in the Morrisons car park, just off Gilmerton Road, and a 24-year-old man has been charged with rape following an attack on Leith Links.