Night Terror

Jonathan Laurence 15 November 2007

Trinity Hall students have been left reeling by a vicious night time attack from an unidentified intruder.

Police are still searching for the man who entered Trinity Hall’s Bishop Bateman Court early on Saturday morning. So far no arrests have been made.

It is not still clear how he managed to enter the students’ accommodation, as college officials say that there are no signs of forced entry.

One second year told The Cambridge Student (TCS) about his ordeal. “I was just lying with my girlfriend, and I woke up to find this guy on top of me, throttling me.

“He must have climbed the wall and come in through the window. He tried to take my laptop, I hit his hand and he ran away.

“I thought it was a random drunk person, but it turned out loads of people had the same experience”.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson said that they still did not know how many students’ rooms that he entered: “It’s not clear how many rooms he went into…there’s lots of students saying they believe he was in their room. It’s safe to say several.”

“We’re still trying to find out what happened”, the police spokesperson added.

Several students told TCS that one girl’s room was completely ransacked by the intruder. “He took all her clothes out and threw them over the courtyard outside. He also stole her laptop and left it on the roof.”

“I found her medical card completely randomly on my window sill”, another third year Bishop Bateman resident said. “I live on the third floor, so when I saw something at the window I assumed it was nothing, and went back to sleep. I didn’t wake up again until the police came at 7:30 the next morning.

“Everyone’s really shaken up – you don’t expect people to get inside your accommodation block, let alone your room. It’s just a bit scary that that sort of thing could happen.

“People have been much more secure since it happened, but there’s still an apprehensive feeling.”

All of the undergraduates contacted by TCS praised the steps taken by Trinity Hall officials to secure the building after the incident.

“College has been really good – the night after it happened a porter slept over in the building”, the BBC resident added. “The head porter came in on his day off, and has come back several times to check the security.”

Another student said: “As soon as they realised, college seemed fully on top of it. They did all they could; and have been really good at making sure everything’s alright”.

Trinity Hall senior tutor Dr. Mark Bampos said: “The College makes every effort to ensure that all accommodation is secure and all locks operational”.

But Dr. Bampos said that students should take responsibility for their own safety. “The College emphasises the need to secure rooms at all times…and this incident has reminded every member of the College of the importance of securing rooms in the future.

“Cambridge may not be the safe place people would like it to be”, he added.

As police struggle to piece together what actually took place, Trinity Hall students are trying to put the incident behind them.

The second year woken up by the man throttling him told TCS that “things were really very fraught the day afterwards, but there has been a really good group mentality.

“A couple of people went home for a bit, but things are pretty much back to normal now.”

Trinity Hall JCR Welfare Officers told TCS that: “students have been very supportive towards one another. We are grateful for the way the college handled the situation.”

Cambridge police said that anyone who saw a man, 5’8, dressed in black with dark close cropped hair should contact them on (0845) 4564564.

Jonathan Laurence