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Sex attacker Oliver Purvis jailed for assaults on woman and girl on successive nights in Dunmow and Flitch Green

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A masked man who sexually assaulted a woman in the street and tried to do the same to a teenage girl has been jailed.

Sex attacker Oliver Purvis, 25, struck in the Great Dunmow area on successive nights last summer.

He was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday (Jan 8). At the same court on November 11 he had admitted charges of sexual assault and assault with intent to commit a sexual act.

Jailed: Oliver Purvis of Dunmow (43891647)
Jailed: Oliver Purvis of Dunmow (43891647)

The first attack happened on May 28 at around 10.10pm.

As a woman in her 20s entered an alleyway coming off Chelmsford Road in Dunmow she was approached from behind by a man who grabbed her, sexually assaulted her and pushed her to the ground. She managed to fight him off and he ran away.

She was able to give police a distinctive description of her attacker, including that he had been wearing a plaster on a finger. His lower face was covered by a snood.

The following evening, a teenage girl walking through Flitch Green was also approached from behind by a man wearing a white surgical mask who pushed her to the ground. She screamed and managed to fight him off, and he ran away.

As part of an extensive investigation by Essex Police, officers obtained Ring doorbell and CCTV footage of a man walking in the area of the Flitch Green attack at around the time it happened.

The force issued an image as part of a public appeal for witnesses and information, and the man was identified as Purvis, who was arrested.

During a search of his home in Tanton Road, Flitch Green, on June 1, officers found clothes the man in the CCTV footage had been wearing, as well as a dark-coloured snood.

Forensic tests showed Purvis’s and his victim's DNA on a plaster found at the scene of the first attack. He was charged.

Investigating officer Det Con Kerry Turner, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Oliver Purvis assaulted two complete strangers, including a child, in what were frightening attacks for the victims.

“Both victims were able to fight him off, ensuring he was not able to do them further harm.

“We were able to identify Purvis and arrest quickly due to a thorough investigation, ensuring he did not pose a danger to anyone else.

“I want to praise the courage of the victims throughout this process and hope this sentencing will help them to move forward.”

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