Man held following two sex attacks in Blackpool

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The Independent Online

Police were last night questioning a 35-year-old man in connection with two sex attacks, one of which resulted in a woman's tongue being bitten off. The man, who hasn't been named, was arrested in Ipswich late on Friday night following the attacks in Blackpool and Knutsford in the early hours of Friday morning.

Lancashire police launched a nationwide hunt for the attacker, who was driving a blue Vauxhall Astra. Police warned women everywhere to be on their guard and said the man must be caught "as a matter of urgency".

A member of the public spotted the car in a field in Ipswich on Friday evening. Local police found a 35-year-old man sleeping inside.

Detective Superintendent Ian Jones of Lancashire Police said the man had been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and attem-pted abduction. He has been taken to Blackpool for questioning. Mr Jones said: "I would sincerely like to thank the person who made the call to the police."

The first attack took place at about 2am in Blackpool, when the man forced his way into the car of a 35-year-old woman before indecently assaulting her. She managed to fight the attacker off and ran from the car for help.

The second attack took place an hour later, less than a mile away from the first. The man enticed a 26-year-old woman into his car before seriously sexually assaulting her. During the struggle, he bit off part of the woman's tongue before she managed to break free and flee.

A third woman was followed as she drove along the M6 motorway and was eventually rammed at speed in Knutsford town centre at about 5am. She immediately got out of her car and ran to safety before the attacker drove away.

Det Supt Jones said the woman who lost part of her tongue was feeling more comfortable yesterday but was still extremely distressed. "I'm pleased to say she is more comfortable than she was," he said, "but I'm sure you understand she remains in hospital, she is very uncomfortable physically and very distressed emotionally.

"She has not been able to make a statement so far, but with the help and assistance of medical staff that is something we hope to get."