Appeal to catch sex assault ‘monster’ 10 years after violent attack

A woman who was dragged down an alley, sexually assaulted and robbed has appealed 10 years on for the public to help catch the “monster” who did it.

Police have released CCTV images of a man they want to trace in connection with the attack on Stephanie Hewson on August 2 2009 in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

Now 33, and having waived her right to anonymity, she said the sex offender would have killed her if he had not been disturbed and it felt “horrible” to know he was still at large.

She thought other women may have been attacked by him since then, and urged them to come forward too.

On the 10th anniversary of the 2.30am attack, the now-married mother said: “I think he’s an animal, I honestly think that if he had not been disturbed by that couple he would have just kept hitting me until he killed me.

“It’s horrible thinking that person is still out on the streets.

“It’s already scary enough but then you know this horrible person is still out there and has potentially raped another woman. He shouldn’t be out there.

“If we finally get one monster off the street that would be amazing.”

CCTV
Northumbria Police are trying to trace this man (Northumbria Police/PA)

She was walking towards Park Avenue when a man in a balaclava dragged her into the rear lane of Beach Avenue.

He stole her bag and ripped off her underwear before fleeing when neighbours came to her aid.

Police were called and they found the victim in a distressed state with serious facial and back injuries where she had been dragged into the ally.

Stephanie Hewson
Stephanie Hewson’s injuries (Northumbria Police/PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Eric Myers, now leading the investigation, said advances in technology and forensics could help.

He said: “The 10-year appeal is a prime opportunity to get people talking about this case again.

“Refresh people’s memories and get out details to a wider a platform to what was available 10 years ago.

“Not only do we have new methods of circulating information to the public, we have improvements in technology around things like forensics and facial recognition.”

Stephanie Hewson
Stephanie Hewson is appealing 10 years after she was attacked (Northumbria Police/PA)

It happened over the same weekend of the 25th North Tyneside International Youth Football Tournament, a five-day event with the final played on the Sunday in Whitley Bay.

Her attacker was white, around 5ft 8in, aged 25 to 30 at the time, and wore a powder blue T-shirt.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101.

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