Police appeal during football match for witnesses of hammer attack on girl


An appeal was made at a League Two football match by police investigating a suspected hammer attack on a teenage girl at a property possibly linked to prostitution.

Portsmouth FC showed a witness appeal on their screens during their 2-1 home win over Wycombe Wanderers at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Detectives hope it will help lead them to the attacker responsible for the attempted murder of a 17-year-old girl at a property in Shearer Road, Portsmouth.

The unnamed teenager was left with "serious, life-changing head injuries" following the assault just before 7pm on April 11, Hampshire Constabulary said.

Police are investigating whether the property was targeted due to links with the sex trade and have given advice on personal safety to sex workers via charities and support groups.

As detectives issued a reminder that a £5,000 reward is on offer, they released two new CCTV images of a baseball cap-wearing man they are looking to trace.

Detective Chief Inspector Liz Williams said: "We have had a very positive response to our appeals for information so far but we are continuing to use every opportunity to engage with the community to identify this man.

"We believe someone knows who he is and I would urge anyone with any information to come forward. This was a vicious attack on a 17-year-old girl and she has been left with life-changing injuries.

"There is a £5,000 reward on offer for information that leads to a successful prosecution in this case so I would urge people to look at this CCTV and contact either the police or Crimestoppers."

Police have boosted patrols in the area in a bid to provide reassurance to the local community, but stressed the incident was being treated as "isolated".

Portsmouth Chief Inspector Jim Pegler said: "Clearly we need to hear from anyone who has any information about this crime but we understand people may be nervous about contacting police.

"We also understand that people involved in sex work may be concerned about their safety and wellbeing and there are agencies they can talk to other than the police if they want advice."

Anyone with information is asked to call Hampshire Constabulary on 101, quoting Operation Gather, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.