RESIDENTS have spoken of their shock after a woman was sexually assaulted on a footpath in Weymouth, as police continued to hunt for the man responsible.

A woman in her 40s was walking along a footpath off Weymouth Bay Avenue that runs between Lodmoor Country Park and the RSPB Lodmoor bird reserve when she was attacked by a man who pushed her to the floor and sexually assaulted her.

The attack happened at around 6.30am on Sunday morning.

Police said the victim was left disorientated and was found by a woman, believed to be aged in her 60s, who was walking a black Labrador but did not have a mobile phone. The woman went and flagged down a man who was nearby, who then contacted the ambulance service.

When the man and woman returned to the victim she was being assisted by a male runner and a further female runner also stopped to help.

Locals have spoken of their shock after hearing about the attack.

One female runner, who lives in the area was out alone on the path the morning after the attack and said she was “surprised and shocked” when she heard about the assault.

She said she was running with her keys in her hand for her own protection.

“I took my keys and told my partner I would call him as soon as I got back because I didn’t want to change my route.

“I hope they’re going to catch the person, I’m glad my friend told me about it before I went out today.”

A local couple, Peter and Jane Gibbs said they walk around the Lodmoor path often.

On hearing about the assault Mrs Gibbs said: “It’s very rare here, it felt very threatening as we walk this stretch of path every day, we have always felt Weymouth was a very safe place to live.

“I probably would feel safe walking alone but our daughter was saying she might not.

“I think everybody will be happier once they have apprehended the person that did it.”

Another solo female runner on the path, Francis Johnson, aged 55, said: “I was shocked, it’s not something you expect down here, in a city you think it happens more, but you don’t hear about it here often.”

Ms Johnson is from Dorchester but said she often likes coming down to run along routes in Weymouth.

She said: “I feel quite safe, I have never changed a run or worried about going out in the dark before."

Police have said that there have currently been no arrests at this time and our investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Detectives investigating the sexual assault are looking to trace possible witnesses who may have vital information.

Detective Sergeant George Graham, of Weymouth CID, said: “The victim has been the subject of a very distressing sexual assault and she is being fully supported by specially trained officers.

“I would like to reassure members of the public that we have launched a detailed investigation into this incident and have been carrying out a number of enquiries. We are determined to identify the offender responsible and I would urge anyone with information to please come forward.

“We are urgently trying to identify the woman who found the victim and the female runner who stopped to help so we can take their accounts as they may have information that will assist us. I would ask these people, or any other witnesses, to please contact us immediately.

“There will continue to be an increased police presence in the area as we carry out enquiries and officers can be approached by members of the community with any concerns.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at, via email or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55210076773. Alternatively, to stay 100 per cent anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at or call Freephone 0800 555 111.