Police are hunting a man who sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman on board a rail-replacement bus service.
British Transport Police officers are urging anyone who witnessed the alleged attack – which happened on the coach heading from Euston towards Milton Keynes in the early hours of Saturday, August 16 – to come forward and help them catch the culprit.
The bus was replacing the 12.30am London Midland service, which was suspended due to engineering works.
PC Chris Woolley, leading the investigation, said: “The victim was sat on her own on the single-decker bus. As it left Watford station, at approximately 1am, a man sat next to her and tried to engage her in conversation.
“As she attempted to move away he sexually assaulted her. She sat elsewhere on the bus for the remainder of the journey.
“When the bus arrived at Hemel Hempstead rail station, the woman realised her mobile phone was missing. She confronted the man but he denied taking it.”
Officers now hope to hear from other passengers who were on the bus and may have witnessed the incident.
The suspect is described as a British Asian, possibly of Pakistani descent, in his early to mid 20s. He is around 5ft 6in tall, clean shaven, of slight build, and spoke with a London accent.
He was wearing a dark hooded top, dark jeans and black trainers. He was later seen sitting with a white man.
PC Woolley added: “I would like to hear from anyone who believes they were on that bus. They may have crucial information which will allow us to find this man and bring him to justice. Unwanted sexual behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated and we will always fully investigate all cases reported to us.”
Officers have been pursuing several lines of enquiry, including taking a statement from the victim and requesting CCTV footage from the bus operator.
Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting reference MSUB/B7 of 28/08/2014.
This investigation is part of Project Guardian – a long-term, cross-force initiative which aims to reduce sexual assault and unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport in and around London.
The project aims to raise awareness and increase confidence in reporting sexual offences. An incident can be reported to British Transport Police by calling 0800 40 50 40 or by text 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.