Clothes are stolen from car of athlete in race-hate case

The Olympic athlete Ashia Hansen, whose boyfriend was stabbed in a racist attack last month, has had her car broken into outside her home and clothes and training equipment stolen.

Police said the break-in might be linked to the attack on 21 March when Ms Hansen's partner Chris Cotter, 28, who is white, was stabbed in the face and back. Ms Hansen, who is black, received hate mail related to the attack.

Detective Inspector Mike Treble of West Midlands Police said: "We cannot rule out the possibility this matter is connected with other incidents involving Ms Hansen, although it could also be an opportunist theft."

Police are looking for up to five white men in connection with the stabbing. They revealed a few days later that three other high-profile black athletes had received hate mail.

Ms Hansen's Vauxhall Corsa was broken into some time between 10pm last Friday and 6am the following morning. The athlete, an international triple jumper, had moved to a secret address but had left her car behind.

Property, including training equipment, was taken from the car although most of it was recovered near by by a milkman. A black fleece jacket with the letters DKNY is still missing.

Detectives are anxious to talk to the driver of a black Hackney taxi, believed to have dropped off customers close to the athlete's house in Erdington, Birmingham, on Saturday morning. "We are very keen to hear from anybody who can help, particularly the taxi driver," said Inspector Treble

Ms Hansen, 28, is the Commonwealth champion and indoor world-record holder in the triple jump. She is one of Britain's best medal hopes for the Sydney Olympic Games later this year.

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