Woman ‘chased and attacked’ by stranger in Hastings park

A woman was chased and attacked by a stranger in the latest incident of violence in Alexandra Park, in Hastings.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:47 pm

Eyewitness Jake White said the woman was chased by a man shortly after she left the toilets in the park at about 12.10pm on Wednesday (March 24).

Mr White said the man waited for the woman to come out of the toilets before attacking her a few metres from the park rangers’ parking space on the path.

He chased after the man and shouted at him to stop after the attacker grabbed and kicked the woman.

Police

The man jumped the river and ran to the café decking where he stood ‘with his hands on his hips and stared at families’ in the park, according to Mr White.

The man disappeared behind the café, Mr White said, before police arrived on the scene.

Police were given a full description of the man and an account of what happened before they began a search for him.

Sussex Police said at 4pm on Thursday (March 25) a man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

A police spokesman said: “At 12.15pm on Wednesday (24 March) police officers received a third-party report of a man assaulting a woman in Alexandra Park.

“Officers conducted an area search but neither the woman or man were found.

“An investigation was launched by officers and following the victim and a number of witnesses coming forward a 26 year-old man from St Leonards was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. At 4pm on Thursday (25 March) he remains in custody while the investigation is ongoing.”

Hastings Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Aidan Cornwall added: “We were able to deploy officers to the location within 10 minutes of receiving the report. An area search was conducted but the victim and suspect were not located.

“Following excellent support from members of the public, officers were able to make a quick arrest.

“If anyone witnessed the assault or has any information to assist our investigation please make contact with us.”

Wednesday’s incident was the latest in a string of violent episodes at Alexandra Park, in Hastings, which have led to calls for increased safety measures.

Kay Early, 33, was left with a black eye, cuts and bruises after she was repeatedly punched in the face by a man while she was walking in Alexandra Park, in June 2020.

Kay’s calls for extra safety measures came after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted in Alexandra Park last Sunday night. A 14-year-old boy has been arrested in relation to the assault.

On June 10, 2020, Kay was walking her dog in Alexandra Park when a man, who had been following her, jumped her and proceeded to repeatedly punch her in the face.

She was unable to run away from him so she dropped to the ground and started ‘kicking him hard and fast in the gut and groin’.

She managed to get the attention of three women who were walking on the same stretch of path but her attacker ran from the scene. He stole Kay’s dog lead but none of her other possessions.

The incident was reported to the police and a 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of robbery, but the case has since been dropped.

Kay, who has suffered with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) since the attack, said she was told her case could have progressed if there had been extra surveillance in the park – somewhere she described as a ‘black spot’ for crime – to help track down the man who assaulted her.