A teenager was sexually assaulted in Edinburgh city centre at 4am on Saturday (12 September). She was attacked outside a Primark clothes store on Princes Street. Detective Chief Inspector Alwyn Bell, of Police Scotland, said: "This was a horrendous sexual assault, which has left the young victim traumatised and we are currently providing her with all the necessary support she requires.
"We have been conducting extensive CCTV inquiries as well as forensic investigations at the scene, but I would ask anyone who can help us trace the suspect contacts police immediately. In addition, anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious in or around Princes Street around 4am on Saturday morning should also get in touch."
Hunt for attacker
The attacker is believed to have headed west along Princes Street, hailed a taxi and was then dropped off in the Oxgangs Road North area around 5am. He is described as white, aged 18-25, with a slim build and strawberry blond or ginger hair, long at the top and shorter at the sides. He spoke with a local accent and was wearing a white, short-sleeved polo shirt, blue skinny jeans and trainers.
Police reports say he may have been in the company of a group of other males and one female prior to the attack, according to a BBC report.
The incident is not being linked to a number of recent rapes in Edinburgh, including assaults on young women in Balerno and Craiglockhart Road last month, a Police Scotland spokeswoman confirmed. Just two weeks ago, a 25-year-old man was raped in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh on 27 August.
Sexual assault increase
Reports of sexual assaults in Edinburgh – including rapes – have risen by 70% from April to June 2015, according to unaudited management figures from Police Scotland. The number of cases being solved has remained level, with 7-in-10 being detected. However, police attribute a large proportion of the hike to rising numbers of reports of online sex crimes and historic incidents.
Ch Supt Mark Williams told The Scotsman: "Nationally, as well as in Edinburgh, there has been an increase in the reporting of sexual offences. This includes rape, and also indecencies and other sexual assaults.
"Over the last few years there's been a big increase in the reporting of these crimes and we do want to encourage reporting to go up. I don't expect this crime to go down. The truth is, we know that much of it is unreported and we really want the public and the victims to have the confidence to come forward."