By Melissa Clark
POLICE are hunting a sex attacker who subjected a young woman on a night out to a “terrifying” assault in a city street.
Officers are investigating whether attack, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, is linked with another sexually assault which took place two weeks ago on a nearby street.
The 23-year-old was out with friends in Edinburgh’s Fredrick Street before she decided to walk home alone at around 2.40am.
As she walked along St Vincent Street a man grabbed her and forced her to the ground and struggled with her.
The attack happened just three minutes walk from the site of another assault three weeks ago, where a woman was grabbed from behind and dragged.
Chief Inspector Gavin Phillip believes Sunday’s attack was also sexually motivated and said it was “extremely distressing for the woman.”
When the victim began to scream loudly the male suspect ran off along North East Circus Place towards Stockbridge.
Chief Inspector Phillip said: “Two members of the public assisted the woman before she went home and contacted the police.
“She wasn’t injured but she’s distressed by the incident.”
He explained that this was a very serious incident and was getting top priority to try and find the suspect.
“This has been a terrifying experience for the victim and we are treating this with absolute priority.
“We have a dedicated squad giving reassurance to the public. There will be high visibility of police officers around the area too.”
The Chief Inspector said the young victim was “lucky” to escape what could have been a much more serious situation.
Chief Inspector Phillip added: “The victim has done very well in difficult circumstances.
“She struggled and screamed loudly.”
He added: “Somebody must have heard something, she was screaming loudly.”
Lothian and Borders are now appealing for witnesses who might have seen the assault or have information about the suspect to come forward.
They are also investigating whether there is a link between this attack and a similar incident that happened in Cumberland Street two weeks ago on Saturday 29 September.
Cumberland Street is approximately a three minute walk from where this weekend’s attack took place.
A 29-year-old woman, who was walking home after a night out at 12.45am, was attacked when a man ran up behind her, grabbed her mouth and dragged her backwards.
The victim then shouted for help and the male ran off towards Dundas Street.
He was described as a male in his late 20s to early 30s, around 5ft 8ins tall, tanned complexion and with a medium build.
He had medium length dark hair which was shorter at the sides and back and thicker on top, and at the time of the incident he was wearing a light coloured jumper.
There is no description of the suspect who attacked the woman on Saturday on St Vincent Street.