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Detectives investigate New Year’s Day sex assault

Detectives are appealing for help to find a sex attacker who dragged a woman into woods and assaulted her as she walked home from a New Year’s Eve party in Colchester.

The attack took place in woods adjacent to Thomas Benold Walk. Credit: ITV Anglia.

It happened at around 1.40am on Berechurch Hall Road, opposite Lethe Grove in the Blackheath area of the town.

The suspect forced the woman into a nearby wooded area before attacking her.

He's been described as bald, clean shaven and or large build.

Our specialist officers are continuing to support the victim and our investigation is ongoing.

Many people would have potentially been walking home through these areas in the early hours of New Year’s Day, we would urge them to think back - did you notice anyone acting suspiciously in the moments leading up to the attack, or did you see or hear anything that could help us?

We would like to reassure the community that, whilst incidents such as this are rare, where they do happen they are robustly investigated by specialist detectives.

– Detective Inspector Julie Gowen

Fire crews tackle blaze in four flats

The fire is at Golden Noble Hill in Colchester Credit: ITV Anglia

Fire crews in Colchester are tackling a blaze in a building containing flats.

They say four flats and the roof of the building are on fire.

Crews from Colchester, Tiptree, Brightlingsea, Mersea, Clacton and Chelmsford are at the scene of the fire which is in a two-storey building.

An aerial ladder has been sent to allow crews to fight the fire from above.

Essex Fire and Rescue say everyone got out safely - they're asking the public to avoid the area.

Woman jailed for stabbing man in Colchester

A woman has been jailed for 30 months for stabbing a man in Colchester, Essex.

Natasha Gardener Credit: Essex Police

Natasha Gardener, 36, of Brooklands, Colchester, admitted GBH without intent and assault at Ipswich Crown Court.

The victim, aged in his 40s, was found with a single stab wound to the stomach at an address on Hythe Hill on 20 December 2017.

Gardener also received a one month sentence, to run concurrently, for assaulting another woman at the address.

“What happened on that night has left a lasting emotional impact on the two victims. Gardener’s violence was unprovoked and unwarranted and I’m glad that this has been reflected in a custodial sentence.”

– Investigating officer, DC Steven King.

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