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Police still on the case after sex attacks by man in balaclava in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 22, 2014

POLICE have moved to reassure Gloucestershire residents that the county is safe, despite a string of unsolved sex attacks.

The statement comes a year on from an attempted rape in Robert Burns Avenue, Benhall, when a man in a balaclava sprang on a woman and tried to drag her into nearby bushes.

The case is being linked to three further sexually motivated attacks on women in the county going back to 2011.

An 18-year-old was grabbed, dragged through the park and assaulted as she walked through Springbank Park in Welch Road On November 30, 2011.

Another serious sexual assault happened at the Penrose Road footbridge in Longlevens on January 19, 2012 and another woman was raped at Clock Tower Park in Abbeymead on May 2, 2012.

In all four attacks the man wore a balaclava or covered his face and threatened to stab the victim.

The anniversary of the Benhall attack, which took place on February 18, last year, comes as detectives in Cheltenham are investigating another serious sexual assault in St Mary's churchyard in Cheltenham town centre on Wednesday evening.

Police do not believe this week's attack is connected in any way to the previous assaults.

Other unsolved and unconnected sex attacks in the spa town include an attempted rape in Brunswick Street last February and a sexual assault in the Promenade last April.

Gloucestershire police spokesman Chris Jackson said: "While these incidents will cause concern, the number of attacks like this are low in the town and your chances of being a victim are very low."

Mr Jackson said every possible line of investigation was being followed in each case.

"We have exhaustively pursued every lead and kept the victims updated in each case," he added.

"I can reassure everyone that we still review any fresh information that comes in that could be linked to these offences and would urge people to come forward if they know something."

Senior officers visited the scene of the Benhall crime this week as they tried to jog someone's memory into providing them with a clue which would break open the year-old case.

Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Stenner, who led the investigation, said: "If any fresh information comes to light, we will of course investigate it thoroughly.

"While there are currently no active lines of inquiry we're continually reviewing intelligence reports and incidents called in to the police which may or may not have relevance to the investigation or could be linked."

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