Police hunt for serial sex offender in Brighton

Do you recognise this man? Police want to speak with him in connection with a series of sexual assaults in Brighton
Do you recognise this man? Police want to speak with him in connection with a series of sexual assaults in Brighton

Police are searching for a suspected serial sex offender in Brighton.

Officers investigating two sexual assaults on women in the city believe they may be linked to three similar incident in recent months.

Sussex Police says an “intensive” investigation has already been underway and detectives are hoping further information from the public will contain valuable detail.

This man may be responsible for three sexual assaults in Brighton – have you seen him?

The first of the two newly-reported cases happened just after 9pm on Friday, October 11.

A Brighton woman in her 50s was waiting for her husband to collect her by car in a car park at the bottom of an alley called The Avenue that runs between the Old Steine and East Street in Brighton.

She was approached by a man who first tried to engage her in conversation and then kissed her violently on the mouth. She pushed him away and he walked off.

The man in that case is described as black, in his early 20s, about 6ft, wearing a short light jacket.

Then shortly before 1am on Sunday (October 20) a 20-year-old local woman had finished work and was walking east along the seafront side of Kings Road.

She was opposite the Odeon and walking next to the boarded-off area by some building works when she was approached by a man who first tried to engage her in conversation and then sexually assaulted her over her clothing.

She resisted and told him to go away and, after a short while, he walked off.

The man is described as about 5ft 10ins, in his mid 30s, of tanned or dark complexion, with dark hair, and wearing a white tracksuit top.

Sussex Police said both of these incidents were reported to police for the first time on October 22 and 23, and the women are being supported by specially trained officers.

Brighton city centre was very busy at the times of both assaults and officers believe people walking or driving by may have noticed the incidents, perhaps mistaking them as involving couples who knew each other.

Detective Inspector Duncan Elliott of the Brighton safeguarding investigations unit said: “From the circumstances, including several common factors in the descriptions and method, at this stage we believe the same man may be responsible for these two cases and for the three other assaults which we are actively investigating and about which we have already issued public appeals for information.

“If you can help in any way please get in touch right away by calling 101 or online quoting Operation Downgate. But in an emergency dial 999.

“See here short CCTV clips we are releasing today showing the suspect just before the assault in Pavilion Buildings on October 5 (in colour) and just after the attack in Marine Parade early the following morning (in black and white).

“Still images from both which have already been released are also included, and we hope these moving images, however brief, will help jog memories and help identify the man responsible.

“These are very worrying incidents and our intensive investigation is continuing.

“We need to find this man before yet further danger and distress is caused. Our patrolling officers are also paying extra attention to the areas involved and anyone with concerns can also speak to them at any time.”