Man detained under Mental Health Act after women are sexually assaulted in Blackburn

A man in his 60s has been detained after a number of women were grabbed, followed and flashed at in Blackburn this week.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:39 pm
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:46 pm
A man in his 60s has been detained after a number of women were grabbed, followed and flashed at in Blackburn this week

On Monday (October 11), police issued an appeal following a number of reports of a man grabbing women, following them and exposing himself as they walked alone.

A man in his 60s from Blackburn has been identified from CCTV footage and has now been detained under the Mental Health Act.

"We are not looking to speak to anybody else in connection with this investigation", said Lancashire Police.

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What happened?

On Tuesday (October 12), detectives released CCTV images of a man they wanted to speak to in connection with an ongoing investigation into a number of worrying incidents in Blackburn where a man attempted to grab women.

At 5.55am on Monday (October 11), officers were called to Whalley Old Road following reports of a sexual assault. The female victim had been walking down the street when she was approached by a man who asked her for a lighter.

He then grabbed her arm and sexually assaulted her before continuing to follow her as she rang the police for help.

The police call handler managed to direct a passing patrol to her location but despite a number of patrols quickly attending the area, the suspect managed to escape before he was arrested.

At 5.47am on Tuesday, police were called to Cathedral Square following reports a woman walking to work had been grabbed by a man.

She managed to fight him off, screamed and ran to a place of safety. The incident happened in an alleyway between Blackburn Cathedral and Blackburn Market.

A few minutes later, at 5.52am, police received another report about a woman being approached by a man in Darwen Street, who tried to grab her as she approached an alleyway. She managed to run away before calling police.

At 9.21am that same day, officers were called to East Park Road to reports a man had exposed himself. He then made a verbal threat towards his victim.

At 9.27am, they were called to West Park Road following reports of "concerning behaviour" involving a man fitting the same description.

A woman reported seeing a man staring at her as he walked in her direction. As she stood aside to let him pass, he brushed up against her and then hurried off.

Lancashire Police say all the incidents are currently being treated as linked and there has been a significant increase of police patrols in the areas.

The fore said there has been coordinated efforts to identify the suspect, involving detectives, response and neighbourhood officers, but no arrest has been made at this stage.

On Wednesday (October 13), a man was identified from CCTV and Lancashire Police said he was "assisting with our enquiries".

Today, the force confirmed that the suspect has not been arrested but has been detained under the Mental Health Act.