Caius student attacked

Alex Coke-Woods and Jennifer Shaw 20 January 2008

A Caius student has been left shaken and scared after a mystery attacker cycled up to her and punched her in the face on Trinity Street, in broad daylight.

Tessa Champion, a second year NatSci from Gonville and Caius, was pushing her bike towards Kings Parade when a man, whom she described as being “probably in his mid or late 20s,” approached her at high speed. As he passed, he knocked Tessa to the floor, before cycling away. The attack took place on Tuesday January 15th, at around ten past one in the afternoon.

“It came totally out of the blue without any apparent motive,” Tessa explained. She added: “It was with brute force, I can’t imagine him hitting me any harder from his position – he’s like a ticking bomb, if he’s still roaming the street.”

“Obviously I was at the wrong time, the wrong place. He must have been so aggressive and frustrated,” she concluded.

Although Tessa says that several passers-by witnessed “at least part of the incident,” she is not certain how many people actually realised that she had been hit.

But a shop assistant from Giles and Co. did witness the assault.

“He came rushing out of the shop and helped me,” Tessa told The Cambridge Student (TCS). From Giles and Co., she was able to telephone the police.

“It was quite late when they arrived, about three quarters of an hour later,” Tessa said. “I don’t know whether that’s usual.”

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesperson was able to confirm that they received a call regarding an assault on a pedestrian by a cyclist at 1.16 pm on Tuesday.

Tessa was contacted by the police the day after the assault. But the call did not bring good news.

“They phoned to say that the CCTV camera was pointing in the wrong direction, so they couldn’t get his face,” she said.

Despite being left shocked and upset by the incident, Tessa was fortunate in that the assault did not leave her with any serious injuries.

“I went to see a doctor at the surgery on Trinity Street, and there’s nothing serious – nothing fractured or anything. It was just very painful and I felt dizzy,” she said.

The apparently motiveless attack has led her to reconsider the safety of students in Cambridge.

“We take precautions not to walk around Parker’s Piece at night by ourselves, but despite being careful, you can never avoid something like that happening,” Tessa explained.

She continued: “It’s worrying that the police can’t do anything, can’t catch him, and that it might happen again. Obviously he’s mentally unbalanced – I mean, I don’t know anything about the person, he could turn up at any moment.”

Tessa describes her attacker as being at least six feet tall, slim and with very long, light brown curly hair.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Parkside Police Station on 0845 456 456 4 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Alex Coke-Woods and Jennifer Shaw