Last October, civil society organisations of the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona gathered to publicly condemn two sexual attacks suffered by two female residents of the area.
Another four women, one of them on the same surroundings of the Montjuïc Promenade and the other three around the Vall d’Hebron area were also sexually assaulted.
The two areas are quite distant from each other, but both have in common that they are places where the city starts to fuse with the mountains that surround it, with housing areas next to wooded, poorly-lit walkways.
The regional government’s police, the Mossos d’Esquadra revealed that since December 7, the alleged perpetrator of the six attacks has been in custody in a juvenile detention center. The suspect was identified and arrested after an extremely complicated investigation for which policemen had not a single image available. None of the victims was able to see his face, the Catalonian daily La Vanguardia reported.
Hardly any information about the alleged sexual attacker has been provided, since he’s a minor. It did emerge that he arrived in Spain from Morocco last year, and that he was under public guardianship in one of the regional government’s reception centers for minors, which he often escaped from. He consequently arrived in Barcelona with the last group of “unaccompanied foreign minors ” last summer.
The attacks had generated widespread alarm in Poble Sec, where several organisations not only demonstrated, but many women changed their habits and stopped going out alone in the streets.
There was no pattern in the attacker’s behavior. Victims fall into a range of ages that runs from 40 to 78 years old, and they were assaulted at all times of the day, during the dark night as well as in broad daylight. One thing is certain: in all of the assaults the attacker was careful to accost his victims when they were in a park area, without security cameras around.
Victims all agreed, however, in stating that the attacker must have been young, of a considerable height, and some of them claimed that the shouts with which he intimidated them and ordered them not to shout or scream had an accent that could only have been Arab.
He attacked them all from behind, threw them to the floor with force, and sexually assaulted them. He used great violence in his actions, hit some of them and in addition twice took the money the women had with them.
Detectives in Barcelona took a while to connect all the assaults to a single perpetrator. Between the first and the second attack a month had passed. The remaining four took place in just ten days. The last one happened on December 5. Two days after that, the suspect was arrested after street patrolls in the two areas were set up.
Policemen have been able to link all of the attacks to him due to a DNA match and via images recorded on the metro at specific times in which the attacker had been wearing particular incriminating clothing items.
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