Sex attacker seizes woman in rush-hour car hijack: Knifeman climbed into vehicle and forced victim to drive for six hours. David Connett reports

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The Independent Online
DETECTIVES are hunting a man who 'car-jacked' a woman on her way to work and sexually assaulted her at knifepoint during a six-hour, 300-mile ordeal.

Police described it as a 'horrific attack on a lone woman innocently driving to work like millions of other people - in a busy area on a Monday morning'. They said the woman 'feared for her life every second' of the ordeal.

The woman, a 33-year-old hairdresser, was on her way to work during the rush hour when a man got into the passenger seat of her car brandishing a knife as she stopped at traffic lights in Rhiwbina, Cardiff. The man ordered her to drive as he held the blade to her body.

Police believe he forced her to drive to a picnic spot near Monmouth, Gwent, where he sexually assaulted her.

The victim was then ordered to keep quiet as the man drove more than 250 miles through the mountains of Mid and North Wales before pulling over into a forest near Mold, Clwyd.

He ordered her out of the car into woods to carry out another more serious sexual assault. A short while later he ran off leaving her to drive in a distressed and distraught state for 10 miles before parking and wandering off. Another woman motorist spotted her on the A541 Mold to Denbigh road at Rhyd-y-Mwyn more than six hours after her ordeal began at 8.30am in Cardiff on Monday.

Specially trained women police officers were yesterday gently coaxing details of the ordeal from the shocked victim.

Police said she was being comforted by her family.

Detectives said she suffered small cuts to her hands from fending off her kidnapper.

Detective Superintendent Mel Pitt, said: 'It is an horrific assault on this terrified lady. Who knows the horror going through her mind on this journey?

'Someone in the queue at the traffic lights must have seen this man forcing his way into her car. He may have tried it earlier by trying to kidnap another driver. They must help by coming forward so we can catch this very dangerous man.'

Police say the woman was driving to work to open her salon near Cardiff city centre when the incident happened. They say they were examining scores of other car-jacking cases for similarities.

Car-jacking is believed to have been copied from attacks carried out on drivers in the United States.

The kidnapper was described by police as white, aged 30 to 40, of medium build and with scruffy dark hair. He was wearing blue jeans, a green hip- length anorak and grey trainers. He was also wearing an orange or pink T- shirt. He spoke with an English accent.

Detectives say the hairdresser had only recently moved to Wales and has not yet been able to give full details of the route of her drive.