Attacks at South Norwood Country Park prompt protest

Attacks at South Norwood Country Park prompt protest

South Norwood Country Park protest

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Christopher Hope-Fitch

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Up to 80 people took part in the protest at South Norwood Country Park

About 80 people have taken part in a protest calling for more safety measures after six women were attacked in two months at a south London park.

The Met Police said four of the victims were sexually assaulted and urged women to stay “vigilant” when visiting Croydon’s South Norwood Country Park.

Jane Nicholl, of the South Norwood Tourist Board (SNTB), criticised police for the lack of patrols.

She urged women not to walk alone until the attacker is caught.

All the attacks – which police are linking – happened on weekdays between 10:50 and 16:30 BST and five of the women targeted had had their dogs with them at the time.

The women were either walking or jogging when they were attacked.

In four of the cases, the attacker either stole – or tried to steal – the women’s mobile phones.

‘No warnings’

“Walking around country park on our walk today we didn’t see one member of the police force,” said Ms Nicholl.

“There are no signs warning women they are not safe.

“The attacks have been going on for a period of a couple of months now and there have been no warnings to be careful.”

Image copyright
Christopher Hope-Fitch

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Some “very supportive men” were also in attendance

The man wanted in connection with all the attacks has been described as black, aged between 16 and 25, tall, thin and with dark hair.

Police said they were “working hard” to identify the suspect and the offences are believed to be linked.

The Met has been approached for comment in regards to claims of a lack of patrols in the area.

One of the victims told the BBC she was grabbed from behind while jogging with her neighbour’s dog on 3 May.

She said she had seen a teenager with an “innocent face” round the corner, but the same boy ended up assaulting her near the train tracks.

The woman, who has an 11-year-old daughter, then managed to kick her attacker, who then ran away.

She pointed out how schoolgirls had been returning from home through the park, and said: “I’m just relieved he chose me and not them because I don’t know if they can look after themselves while I can.”

She added the protest “sends a message to anyone else thinking to come to the park to get lucky that it’s not going to work because we’re going to stand together and get our park back.”

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