Detectives investigating the abduction and rape of two women have released CCTV images of the suspect as he attempted to book a hotel and have revealed the man has a distinctive tattoo.
The image was captured by cameras at the hotel in the Watford area around 13:00hrs on Thursday, 25 April.
Officers have this afternoon, Sunday, 28 April, arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to rape and taken him into custody at a west London police station. The hunt for the rapist continues.
The first woman had been abducted from a street in Chingford at approximately 00:30hrs on 25 April and the second woman taken from a street in Edgware 12 hours later, at 12:15hrs.
The suspect drove the women to the hotel and attempted to book a room around 13:00hrs.
When this was unavailable, he left the premises.
Around 14:30hrs a struggle between the women and the suspect took place in Osborne Road, Watford and the women managed to escape.
The suspect is described as a white man of muscular build, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, with a bald head or shaved blond hair and a light-coloured short beard. He is described as having a distinctive tattoo of the name ‘bobbie’ on his stomach.
The car he was driving is believed to be a silver or grey-coloured Ford S-Max people carrier, with false registration plates.
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who leads the investigation, said: “Our investigation into these appalling crimes is making good process and my team continue to work extremely hard but we urgently need the help of the public to identify and trace this man.
“I would ask everyone to take a good look at his image – does this man look familiar? Do you know anyone with the name ‘bobbie’ tattooed on his stomach? Did you see a man matching this description in and around the Chingford or Edgware areas on Thursday, 25 April? We believe he travelled around north London and Hertfordshire in his car from the early hours of Thursday and he may have come into contact with other members of the public.
“Equally he may have abandoned his car somewhere – if an unfamiliar car of this description is now parked on your street, call the police straight away.
“We would ask anyone with any information to contact us immediately – if you see the suspect do not approach him but call 999 immediately. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers. It is vitally important we catch this man, and while stranger attacks of this nature are thankfully rare, we would urge people to remain vigilant.”
The women, both in their 20s, have been left traumatised and are receiving support from specialist officers. The investigation, into what officers are treating as two random but linked attacks, is being led by officers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, supported by other specialist and local officers as well as Hertfordshire Police.
Since the offences were committed, detectives have been working around the clock to get as much information as possible about the suspect and offences.
Anyone who can help is asked to call the incident room on 0208 785 8244 or 999 quoting CAD 3041/25Apr, or tweet @MetCC and or Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111.