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Police step up patrols after female jogger's 'knife man' ordeal at Grange Paddocks in Bishop's Stortford



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Police are conducting further inquiries after a woman was chased by a man she believed was wielding a knife in Bishop's Stortford.

The 23-year-old victim said she had to run for her life and asked the Indie to publicise her terrifying ordeal in Grange Paddocks on Wednesday January 12 to warn others against exercising alone in the area at night.

She said she had asked police and leisure centre bosses to issue alerts, but without success, but both Hertfordshire Constabulary and Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre management have now acknowledged her concerns.

The jogger was running from Sworder's Field to Grange Paddocks via the path beside the railway line
The jogger was running from Sworder's Field to Grange Paddocks via the path beside the railway line

She said: "I was out jogging [from Sworder's Field to Grange Paddocks] and I was followed by a man for roughly half a mile.

"He chased me, said 'Come here' and tried to grab me. He was attempting to block off my path to stop me from running away.

"He was holding up a knife in his hand.

"I managed to outrun him and didn't stop until I reached the car park. I rang the police immediately."

Her assailant was white, aged 30 to 40 and wearing a black hoodie. The victim saw a group of youngsters she believed were Scouts with adults carrying torches in Sworder's Field shortly before she was chased and hopes they can add more details to the offender's description.

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said that officers were called at 9.08pm. By 9.13pm an officer had spoken to the victim and the Grange Paddocks and Sworder's Field areas were searched.

She said: "Officers attended the area again the next day [Thursday January 13] to conduct additional patrols, identify any possible suspects and to look for any further lines of enquiry. These patrols continued in the coming days and form part of the local Safer Neighbourhood Team's regular patrol plan.

Grange Paddocks general manager Amar Varsani said that any victim could shelter at the leisure centre until police arrived. Picture: Vikki Lince
Grange Paddocks general manager Amar Varsani said that any victim could shelter at the leisure centre until police arrived. Picture: Vikki Lince

"The woman was contacted to check on her welfare, offered personal safety items and to establish any further investigative opportunities.

"Since the initial call to police, further information has come to light that the suspect had a shiny object in his hand. Officers from the local crime unit were notified of the new information and further enquiries are currently being conducted. The woman is also being spoken to again for clarification around what happened."

Det Insp Chris Ross said: "Incidents of this nature are very frightening and will cause concern among the community.

"When we were notified about the man possibly being in possession of a knife, we immediately began conducting further inquiries, including speaking with the woman further, to offer support and clarify the events on the evening.

"These enquiries are continuing at this time by local crime unit detectives. If anyone has any information which may assist us, then please get in touch, quoting ISR 681 of 12 January. Regular patrols continue to be conducted in the area."

Amar Varsani, general manager at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, told the Indie: "We were saddened to hear of the incident that took place and we take matters like this extremely seriously.

"We will make our colleagues aware of the recent events and will work in partnership with East Herts Council to feed this back to the community policing network and crime prevention officers.

"We would like to stress that if any person approached our centre after being a victim of any incident of this nature, we would follow all necessary protocols and take care of the person until the police arrive."



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