West Midlands Police have released details of a sexual assault on a student last term.
The attack took place just before 11pm on 27 February, on the path adjacent to University House. A 20-year-old female student was approached from behind and attacked while walking to Westwood campus. The suspect is said to be a slim white male wearing a hooded top and a scarf over his face. The police released a grainy CCTV image to the _Coventry Telegraph_ of what is believed to be the attacker.
Police said they are releasing details of the incident in the hope that witnesses will come forward and assist them in the investigation. The officer in charge of the investigation called the attack “a particularly nasty incident on a vulnerable young woman”.
University Press Officer Peter Dunn said that he found the timing of the police’s appeal “odd”.
“West Midlands police press office did not inform the University that they intended to issue this press release, which is of course out of term and several weeks after the event,” he said.
After the incident, the University released a statement on Insite, which said, “there have been two attacks on students in that area”, and urging students to “treat the University campus with the same care as any other urban environment, especially at night”. At the time, both police and the University said they could not comment on the incident.
Some students have raised concerns that this warning to students was vague and not well-publicised. The University, however, defended its actions, saying: “We put that information on insite straight away to alert people to the issue…. We could have taken the decision not to refer at all to that first more uncertain incident and concentrate on a the more clear facts of the second incident but on balance we thought we ought to try and tell people that there may have been two linked incidents.”
Dunn also said the University is looking into ways to “discourage” night-time use of the path in question, but that “it is difficult to see how any campus could totally prevent such an incident occurring if someone evil enough was minded to act in this way”.
Anyone with information on the attack is urged to contact Detective Constable Toni Quinn on 0345 113 5000.
_This article was amended at 23:26 on 15 April._