Man jailed for stranger attacks
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A man who attacked two strangers in Dunmow, including a teenage girl, has been jailed.
The attacks happened on consecutive days in May last year.
The first took place on 28 May. The victim, a woman in her 20s, had been walking along Chelmsford Road at around 10.10pm.
As she entered an alleyway coming off Chelmsford Road she was approached from behind by a man who grabbed her, sexually assaulted her, and pushed her to the floor.
She managed to fight the man off and he ran away. When she later spoke to officers to report what had happened she was able to give a distinctive description of him including that he had been wearing a plaster on his finger.
Then, the following evening, a teenage girl was also approached from behind as she walked through Flitch Green by a man who pushed her to the floor.
She screamed and managed to fight him off before he ran away.
On both occasions the man had his face covered – by a snood in the first instance and by a white surgical mask during the second.
Through an extensive investigation officers obtained Ring doorbell and CCTV footage of a man walking in the area of the second incident at around the time it happened.
We issued the image as part of a public appeal and the man was identified as 25 year-old Oliver Purvis and he was arrested.
During a search of Purvis’ home address in Tanton Avenue, Dunmow on 1 June, officers discovered clothes the man pictured in the CCTV had been wearing as well as a dark coloured snood.
A plaster had been found at the scene of the first attack and forensic tests showed DNA matching Purvis’ was found on the inside and DNA matching the victim’s was found on the outside.
Purvis was charged.
At Chelmsford Crown Court on 11 November he admitted charges of sexual assault and assault with intent to commit a sexual act.
At the same court today (Friday 8 January) he was jailed for a total of four and-a-half years.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Kerry Turner, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Oliver Purvis assaulted two complete strangers, including a child, on in what were frightening attacks for the victims.
“Both victims were able to fight him off ensuring he was not able to do them further harm.
“We were able to identify Purvis and arrest quickly due a thorough investigation ensuring he did not pose a danger to anyone else.
“I want to praise the courage of the victims throughout this process and hope this sentencing will help them to move forward.”