Police hunting sex attacker John Selder believe there may be more victims to come forward (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Police hunting sex attacker John Selder believe there may be more victims to come forward
POLICE hunting sex attacker John Selder believe there may be more victims still to come forward.
Officers spent two years tracking the 34-year-old, jailed last week for three sexual offences in the Bournemouth area.
In January 2011, Selder’s DNA was collected following his first offence, which involved a six-year-old girl in the Westbourne area.
However, as he had not yet been arrested for committing a crime in the UK, there was no way to identify him.
Just months later, in May of that year, the Dutch national struck again, dragging a teenager off the street as she walked home and sexually assaulting her.
Police launched a huge manhunt after linking both attacks.
But it would be another two years before Selder was arrested after fleeing for Brighton to start a new life with his long-term girlfriend.
Detective Inspector Steve Thorpe of Dorset Police, who led the investigation, said: “Selder hadn’t been arrested in the UK, and so there was no record of his DNA on the system.
“When he attacked the 19-year-old woman walking home in the early hours of the morning, DNA recovered linked him to the first incident.”
Police interviewed the child again, and she drew an image of the man who performed a sex act in front of her earlier that year.
The image was used on the front page of the Daily Echo and on posters distributed throughout the town to launch Op Astor, an initiative to find the offender.
Officers in plain clothes policed the streets of Bournemouth at night hoping to catch the man responsible for the attacks, and a number of arrests were made.
DI Thorpe said: “Unfortunately, we didn’t arrest the man responsible at that time. Part of our investigation included the possibility of encouraging men fitting the profile to submit their DNA for testing voluntarily.”
Further Op Astor appeals appeared in the Echo in August, November and December of 2011.
However, it was not until the attempted rape of a rough sleeper in May in the car park of the private Nuffield Heath hospital in Lansdowne Road that officers secured CCTV footage of Selder.
After the photograph was printed in the Echo, a former colleague of the offender contacted police, and he was arrested in East Sussex attempting to run away.
DI Thorpe said: “He is clearly a predatory sexual offender.
“If there are any other victims out there who recognise Selder, we would urge them to come forward.”
Selder pleaded guilty to sexual assault by penetration and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child earlier this year at Bournemouth Crown Court.
However, he denied a charge of attempted rape, and was found guilty following a trial.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week, but could serve up to 16 years if a parole board believes he is still a danger to others.