Reid victim 'baffled' by police failings

An Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the case of serial sex attacker Kirk Reid - who police believe committed 71 offences - found a "sustained failure" in the inquiry and three senior officers face misconduct proceedings.

One of Reid's victims, Anna, tells the BBC she is disappointed police failings left her attacker free to prey on other women.

Anna, now 35, was walking home from Tooting Bec station, having caught the last Tube, at about 0100 on 29 August 2003, when Reid indecently assaulted her on the street.

"The first thing I knew there was this person behind me and he grabbed me, the incident lasted a couple of seconds and then he ran off.

"I was really angry so I turned round and I shouted at him - he looked back at me and I saw his face and what he was wearing."

Statement lost

Anna says she called the local police, who took down her story, and a few days later the Sapphire sex crimes unit contacted her and asked her to go into the police station to make a full statement.

She says a few weeks later she was asked to participate in an ID parade - which she declined to do - but that was the last she heard from the police until January 2008.

By then, control of the investigation had switched to Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command unit.

Image caption Kirk Reid subjected his victims to frightening attacks

Anna learned that her statement had been lost and she was asked to make it again.

"This time, the police came to my house, they were really good, they kept me in the loop all the time.

"But until then I assumed someone had been caught, I knew nothing really... I never got feedback in five years, it was only when officers called me in January that I knew he was still at large."

She says she feels really disappointed that opportunities to catch Reid earlier were missed.

"I assumed that if you report a crime, procedures are in place and they're following due process and link pieces together - but that didn't happen.

"You kind of forgive one person making a mistake, but when you have a team working on these things, I don't understand how they didn't join things up."

'Easy to tell people'

She is also angry the community was not warned that an an attacker was in the area.

"They knew they were dealing with a serial attacker in 2002 - they put out the information to their own officers to look out for this guy.

"It baffles me, I really don't understand why they didn't tell the local community to be aware and take care.

"It was such a small area that he operated in it would have been easy to tell people.

"I might not have walked up the street with headphones on and I might have got a taxi that night... and he went on to assault numerous other women after me."

But Anna says she feels "lucky" she escaped relatively unharmed.

"I'm glad I didn't know at the time what he was capable of.

"I can imagine for some of the other people for which it was a lot more serious, it would have affected them really badly."

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