Rapist 'may have carried out more attacks'

A serial rapist now known to have struck nine times across four counties may have carried out even more sex crimes, police said today.

Detectives, who are puzzled by a nine-month gap between the first and second attacks, appealed for any other victims to come forward.

The appeal came as a man arrested on Wednesday night in connection with the investigation into rapes in London, Surrey, Kent and Berkshire was released on bail.

Thames Valley Police admitted the attacker may have launched more attacks which had not been reported.

Detective Superintendent Mark Warwick said: "People anywhere who have suffered from this person should come forward."

He said no linked crimes had been reported between the first attack in November last year and the next on July 11.

The attacker could have been in prison for other offences during that time.

Thames Valley Police are offering a £10,000 reward for information which could help catch him.

Mr Warwick appealed to anyone who recognised as suspicious in a friend, relative or work colleague patterns such as unaccountable free time and movements across the country.

He added: "Someone out there must know him. It must ring a bell."

The man held on Wednesday night and now on bail was the latest of several arrests by the 100 officers working on the case.

He was arrested after being spotted acting suspiciously at a railway station in Surrey.

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: "A man in his 30s was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of being connected to Operation Orb and he has been released on bail.

"The nature of this type of investigation means people will be arrested and eliminated and a number of arrests have already been made."

The serial attacker is so far confirmed to have raped eight women and attempted to abduct a ninth.

He has twice grabbed girls off their bicycles in daylight and twice attacked women walking their dogs.

Seven of his nine victims have been blonde and they have been aged between 10 and 52.

More than 100 police officers in London, Surrey, Kent and Berkshire are hunting the attacker, who they describe as "dangerous and violent".

In the latest attack to be linked, a 22-year-old woman was attacked while walking her dog on Dunsborough Park in Ripley Green, Surrey, on September 16.

Detectives believe her collie dog scared the attacker off and may have bitten him.

In all cases the attacker has struck in urban areas and on a weekday, grabbing women from behind and forcing them into undergrowth. All the attacks have occurred between 10.30am and 9.15pm.

On one occasion he brandished a knife and he tells victims not to look at him.

In most cases he takes clothing or property from his victims as trophies.

After raping a 26-year-old woman on Putney Common on July 11, he used her mobile phone to call her mother and told her: "I've just raped your daughter."

He also told one victim: "I don't want to be caught again" and police believe he may already have spent time in prison.

Victims say the attacker may have a North East accent and is white, aged between 30 and 50, between 5ft 5ins and 5ft 10ins with tanned leathery skin and a gruff voice.

Several victims say he smells of smoke and sometimes of drink and one said he may have scars on his forehead and below one eye.

The rapist struck first in Ashford, Kent on November 15, last year, when a 10-year-old girl was abducted from outside a sports centre and raped in nearby woodland.

There was then a nine-month gap until a 12-year-old girl was dragged off her bike and raped in Bracknell, Berkshire as she cycled home on July 1.

On July 11, a 30-year-old woman was raped on a footpath in Earlswood, Surrey and just six hours later a 26-year-old woman was raped in woodland on Putney Common.

Five days later, on July 16, an 18-year-old woman was raped on a footpath in a park area of Woking, Surrey.

On August 6, a 52-year-old woman was raped on Wimbledon Common, south London and next day a 26-year-old was raped in a wooded area in Epsom,


On September 6, a 13-year-old girl was raped in a wooded area near Woking, Surrey while she was cycling home.

The latest attack in Ripley Green, Surrey was 10 days after that.

His victims' ordeals lasted up to half an hour and several are believed to be extremely traumatised.

Criminal profilers are trying to build up an impression of the rapist.

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