Op Reactivate - Indecent Assaults Harpenden 2002
£10,000 reward for anonymous information on Harpenden sexual assaults on twenty year anniversary
Details of Incident
The charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for anonymous information on the person responsible for two serious sexual assaults in Harpenden 20 years ago.
Between 6pm and 6.30pm on Sunday 7 April 2002, a 16-year-old girl was walking along Piggottshill Lane when a man grabbed her. He then dragged her into a nearby field where he sexually assaulted her and forced her to perform sexual acts.
Just two months later, a similar incident occurred. Between 6.45pm and 7pm, on Wednesday 19 June 2002, a 17-year-old girl was walking along Wheathampstead Road, when a man forced her into a small red car. He then drove down Piggottshill Lane and took her to a wood where he forced her to perform sexual acts and sexually assaulted her.
The charity Crimestoppers, which is independent from the Police, is supporting these investigations by offering a reward of up to £10,000 for anonymous information it exclusively receives - via its website Crimestoppers-uk.org or by phone on 0800 555 111 – that leads to the conviction of the man or men responsible.
In the first incident, it’s believed the offender used a silver Vauxhall Astra with a C or D registration. In the second incident, a small red M-registration car was used, of a similar size to a Vauxhall Corsa.
A thorough investigation was launched at the time, with the incidents treated as linked. There is scientific evidence to suggest the same man is responsible for both assaults.
The suspect was described as having tanned or dark skin, between 5ft 7in and 5ft 9in tall, with dark hair and aged in his late 30s. Based on this description he would now be in his late 50s.
Despite a BBC Crimewatch appeal and an e-fit released to the public, no suspect has ever been identified.
Annabelle Goodenough, South East Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “These are awful, heinous crimes which should never have happened. Two innocent children 20 years ago went through terrible ordeals, and they have had to grow up without anybody facing justice for the severe harm caused to them. We know it can be difficult to speak up about someone you suspect may be involved in a serious crime, especially if they are close to you. This is why our charity is here to help.
“Crimestoppers gives people the option to remain completely anonymous when telling us what you know. We have kept this promise since we started back in the late 1980s. Around half a million people contact our charity every year to pass on their crime information.
“If you know anything about these crimes, I urge you to speak to us completely anonymously. Call our UK Contact Centre, which is open 24/7, on freephone number 0800 555 111 or use our simple and secure anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No piece of information is too small to tell us. Nobody will know you contacted us, and you will be doing the right thing for these young women.”
Please note: Computer IP addresses are never traced, and no-one will ever know you contacted Crimestoppers. No personal details are asked for or stored.
For telephone calls, there is no caller line display, no 1471 facility and calls have never been traced. The charity is completely independent of the police and guarantees your personal identity will always been protected.
Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “This week marks the twentieth anniversary of the second attack, and we would like to use this as an opportunity to re-appeal for the public’s help. "The victims, now aged in their thirties, endured a harrowing ordeal and until the attacker is found, they are without closure. They deserve justice and so I am asking for the public’s assistance. Can you think back to that time? Were you living or working in Harpenden? Did you witness something suspicious that’s stayed on your mind since? Any information you have, no matter how small it might seem, could help us get the breakthrough we need. I would also like the public to take another look at the e-fit. Did you know someone who looked like this twenty years ago? We are keeping an open mind and due to the fact that he was driving a car, it’s possible that he was not local to the area. Please take a good look and contact us if you think you recognise him. The victims have had to live with the trauma of what happened for twenty years now. Any information you can give us is just as important now as it was then. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you think you can help. If you contact the charity Crimestoppers directly, you could be eligible for a reward."
Information passed directly to police will not qualify for a reward. Only information given exclusively to the charity Crimestoppers’ via the 0800 555 111 number or the simple and secure anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org will qualify.