Sunderland knifeman chased away after threatening woman

Subway under the roundabout at St. Michaels Way/New Durham Road in Sunderland City Centre
Subway under the roundabout at St. Michaels Way/New Durham Road in Sunderland City Centre
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A HAVE-A-GO hero chased off a knife-wielding robber who threatened a young woman.

Detectives are trying to trace the man who scared off the attacker as he demanded the 20-year-old victim hand over her phone.

The incident took place as the woman walked along the footpath behind the Murray Library, in Chester Road, Sunderland.

It happened just yards from an underpass where three women have been sexually assaulted in recent months – but police say the latest incident is not linked to those.

The would-be robber struck from behind, pointing a knife at his victim and demanding she gave him her mobile.

But the passer-by intervened and the robber fled empty-handed.

A woman also came to help the victim, who was not injured.

Neighbourhood Inspector Neal Craig said: “Understandably, the victim in this incident has been left very shaken by it.

“We’d urge anyone who may have information to contact police, in particular the two members of the public who helped her shortly afterwards.”

The attempted robbery took place at about 6.30pm on Monday.

As reported in the Echo last week, three sex attacks have taken place in a nearby subway over the last few months.

However, the robbery is not being linked to any of these incidents.

On September 22, a 20-year-old woman was sexually assaulted as she made her way through the subway.

On June 8, a 25-year-old was also sexually assaulted at the spot.

Three weeks earlier, a man tried to grab a 22-year-old and sexually assaulted her as she walked through the underpass.

A 27-year-old was arrested in connection with the May and June attack. Police are not linking the September assault.

Sunderland students have been left shocked by the latest incident.

Sam Warrington, 19, of Millfield, said: “It’s frightening when anything like this happens somewhere where you walk pretty much every day.

“There have been police on campus the last few weeks handing out leaflets on how to stay safe.”

Scott Benson, 21, also of Millfield, added: “It’s awful that this happened at that time of night.

“It’s difficult to say don’t walk about by yourself because at that time of night people are still getting off the Metro there after work.

“It’s also starting to get dark really early and it’s not very well lit down there.”

Emma Shoni, 20, of Pallion, said: “I feel sorry for the girl, she must have been terrified.

“I always try and be careful and make sure if I’m walking home I’m with friends.”

A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbery and bailed pending further inquiries.

Anyone with any information should phone Northumbria Police on 03456 043 043 extension 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @sunechocrime