Police are searching for a man who put a pillowcase over the head of a pregnant young woman and repeatedly punched her, in an incident caught on CCTV.
The footage shows the man attacking the 20-year-old woman in Stamford Hill, north London on March the 18th, in an area that has a large Hasidic Jewish population. The CCTV video was published by Shomrim, a Jewish neighbourhood watch group.
Police say that they are still working to establish whether the attack was a hate crime.
The video shows the perpetrator approaching the woman from behind and covering her face with a pillowcase before punching her numerous times in her stomach. Shomrim posted footage of the attack on Twitter to help find the attacker, but have since deleted it due to the violent nature of the video. They have released a high-res CCTV image of the suspect, however.
“Appeal to identify an extremely dangerous fugitive who is still on the loose after CCTV captures a male viciously attacking a young pregnant woman in #StamfordHill in an unprovoked attack,” a tweet from the group reads. “#Shomrim volunteers have increased patrols after a recent spike in assaults on lone females.”
The young woman was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries, police said.
“The victim, a 20-year-old woman, informed officers that she had been approached from behind by the suspect, who put a cloth or pillowcase over her head before assaulting her,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan police said. “Officers are carrying out a number of enquiries and are reviewing CCTV cameras in the local area. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”
Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: "This is a completely shocking and disgraceful attack. My heart goes out to the victim and her loved ones. The police deserve the full support of the entire community in their efforts to track down the perpetrator and bring him to justice."
The incident comes during a period of heightened focus on violence against women. Mass vigils and protests have taken place for Sarah Everard, 33, who disappeared earlier this month while walking home in south London. A serving Metropolitan police officer has been arrested and charged on suspicion of kidnap and murder.
Anyone with information about the Stamford Hill attack is asked to contact the police via 101 quoting reference Cad 6517/18Mar.