Woman sexually assaulted in subway

Police stand guard at the scene of an alleged sex assault in the underpass behind the Priestman Building on St. Michael's Way in the city.
Police stand guard at the scene of an alleged sex assault in the underpass behind the Priestman Building on St. Michael's Way in the city.
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POLICE are today hunting a pervert who trapped a woman in a subway before subjecting her to a terrifying sex attack.

The 22-year-old woman was walking through the underpass next to Sunderland University’s Murray Library when a man walked up to her and blocked her path.

He then grabbed hold of her, ripping her clothing as he carried out the assault.

After a struggle, the woman managed to get away from her attacker and run towards the city centre.

She suffered bruising to her arm and was left frightened by the incident.

Detective Sergeant Henry Gustard, who covers the city centre for Northumbria Police, said: “Understandably, the victim is incredibly shaken.

“Luckily, she’s managed to run off from the man but not before she had to suffer a horrendous ordeal.”

Police have stepped up patrols in the area in a bid to reassure people and are urging anyone with information to come forward.

The city centre attack has shocked Wearsiders who use the underpass.

Student Sandi McCarthy, 19, of St Luke’s Road, Pallion, said: “It’s horrible. I always try to be quite careful when I’m walking around by myself at night and try not to walk about alone.

“I know a lot of my friends do though and I guess you never think anything is going to happen to you.”

Call centre worker Jonny Stepson, 22, of Rosedale Street, Millfield, added: “It’s frightening to think that this has happened.

“I always tell my girlfriend not to walk by herself at night.

“She works in Newcastle and I always come and meet her from the Metro.”

Paula Taylor, 20, who lives on Chester Road, often uses the subway.

The student said: “I walk along there almost every day and sometimes at night because it’s the easy way to get into town.

“It’s a reminder that there are people out there who do will do these kind of things.

“I feel really sorry for the woman.”

The attacker is described as Asian, with short black hair, aged about 30, of medium build and about 5ft 6in to 5ft 7in tall.

He is thought to have been wearing a dark anorak-type jacket.

The attack took place on Thursday at about 11pm.

It is not known whether the victim was a university or college student.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 03456 043 043 ex 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

@sunechocrime