A 38-year-old man man taken into police custody on Wednesday in connection with a rape in Botley was released without charge on Wednesday evening.
On Tuesday evening between 19:45 and 20:10 GMT a woman walking along Harcourt Hill, Botley was approached from behind by an armed man. Thames Valley Police have said that he took her to Raleigh Park and raped her.
Detectives have now said that a traffic collision which occurred shortly before 23:00 involving a black Golf VW in Wytham is no longer thought to be linked to the investigation.
On Wednesday morning police set up a forensic tent in the park with a cordon surrounding it. They are also combing the paths and increasing police presence in the area as well as reviewing CCTV. There will be a scenewatch and high-visibility foot patrols by officers.
Detective Inspector Jim Holmes, Senior investigating officer said “We are determined to find the offender of this serious offence but we need the public’s help.”
He continued: “Our priority remains the victim and she continues to be supported by our specially trained officers at this horrendous time. We are in the early stages of a complex investigation but I can reassure the public that we are working tirelessly to bring the offender to justice.”
The perpetrator is described as a white muscular man, around 30-years-old, just under 6ft tall. He was wearing dark black clothing with a hood up, and a balaclava covering the lower part of his face.
Police are seeking information about vehicles driven ‘eratically’ on the A34 northbound near Botley or Wytham, after 20:30 on Tuesday. They have suggested that drivers may have seen items thrown from a vehicle.
Residents of Harcourt Hill have expressed deep concerns, one resident saying “It is just so shocking, it’s a very quiet area. I have a 21 year old daughter who always goes out to walk the dog, I won’t be letting her now.”
They went on to suggest that the presence of students “maybe makes it more of a target for criminals.”
Another resident who wished to remain unnamed added “It’s normally so quiet around here. To have this literally on your doorstep is quite scary, I feel quite nervous. Is somebody at large?”
Oxford Brookes University spokeswoman Natalie Gidley said “The university is aware of police presence close to the Harcourt Hill campus this morning and is cooperating with any enquiries as required.”
LPA Commander for South and Vale, Supt Rory Freeman, said: “If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to speak to a police officer or police community support officer.”
Anyone with information is being encouraged to contact 101 and quote reference 1278 (10/1) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.