Detectives investigating a serious sexual assault are renewing their appeal after revealing they have a DNA profile for the offender.
It is hoped the evidence will encourage the public to come forward with any suspicions, as individuals can be quickly be eliminated if they were not involved.
The incident happened in Babworth Road, Retford, at around 3.30pm on Thursday 12 December 2019 – the date of the 2019 general election. The victim was walking alone through a cemetery when she was approached by a stranger and attacked.
In a bid to solve the case, CCTV footage of a man police would like to trace has today been released – and a new £1,000 reward for information that helps catch the offender is being offered by independent charity Crimestoppers.
Detective Sergeant Neil Allsop, of Nottinghamshire Police’s public protection team, said officers had pursued numerous lines of enquiry and remain determined to catch the offender.
He said: “Over the last two years we have worked incredibly hard to track down the person responsible. I remain confident the offender can be caught – but we need the public’s help.
“Today we can confirm that we have obtained a DNA profile for the offender. This means that we can quickly and definitively eliminate anyone from our enquiry if they were not involved and therefore I would urge anyone who has any information or suspicion relating to an individual to please contact us.
“Equally, we can easily establish if someone was responsible if they provide a match to the DNA profile.
“We are also releasing CCTV footage of a man we would like to speak to. He may not have been involved but we believe he could assist the investigation.”
The CCTV shows the man walking along Leafield, close to the cemetery, around the time the victim was attacked.
Det Sgt Allsop said specially-trained officers are continuing to support the victim as extensive enquiries in relation to the investigation continue.
“We will keep working on this case for as long as it takes to get justice for the victim,” he said. “Starting on Monday (15 November), we’ll be embarking on a week of action in an effort to unearth new lines of enquiry.
“This will involve officers speaking to residents in the area and asking if they know anything that could assist the investigation and handing out leaflets as part of the renewed appeal.”
The offender is described as white, clean shaven, of slim build and approximately 5’11 tall. He is thought to have been wearing dark blue jeans and black hood attached to a jacket at the time of incident.
Det Sgt Allsop said: “We would like to hear from anybody who was in the area and saw anything suspicious. This case may now be two years old but the date may well stick in people’s minds as it coincided with the 2019 general election.
“Did you see anyone acting unusually in the area – either on that Thursday afternoon or on the days either side of the incident? If so, please get in touch.”
Lydia Patsalides, East Midlands regional manager at the charity Crimestoppers, added: “The victim has been through a horrific ordeal and we are appealing to anybody who may have information on this attack to contact us, with the promise that you will remain completely anonymous.
“We are sure that somebody will suspect who this attacker is. If you have any information at all, please do the right thing and contact Crimestoppers. In over 33 years, our charity has always kept our promise of 100% anonymity to everyone who trusts us with their crime information.
“Remember that your information could help keep someone safe from harm in the future. Our UK Contact Centre is open 24/7 on 0800 555 111 or you can use our anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No-one will know you contacted us, and it could be your information that makes a huge difference.”
If you saw anything or have any information that can aid officers in their investigation, please contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 424 of 13 December 2019. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.