Student, 21, afraid to leave home after sexual assault as she jogged through park

A student says she is afraid to leave her home after being sexually assaulted as she jogged through a park.

Rachel Stride has bravely waived her anonymity to speak of her horrendous experience of being groped near Bristol Zoo Gardens on Monday evening by a man dressed all in black.

The 21-year-old feared for her life as he made a “really aggressive grab” at her rear, reports BristolLive.

After coming down a “steep, dark hill” that leads towards the zoo at around 7.50pm, the Cardiff Metropolitan University student said she heard someone behind her.

“I was getting towards a spot with more light and I thought, ‘I’ve got past the scary bits, it’s going to be alright.’

“Then I heard these steps behind me. I thought it was just another runner so I kept going. As the steps got closer, I moved out of the way to let them past.

“Then I felt this big grip on my backside.”

Rachel said she had one earphone in so wasn’t sure if the man said anything to her, adding: “It was a really nasty thing. I was terrified.”

He sprinted back up the hill as she turned to him and so she didn’t get a good look at his face but said he was wearing a dark tracksuit with white Adidas stripes on the sleeves.

“I reckon he was wearing dark clothes so he could get back into the shadows easily,” Rachel, who lives in Bristol, said.

She believes the man may have decided against further violence because she had run into a slightly better-lit area a moment before the attack.

She said: “I called after him, saying I was going to call police, to scare him away. I was starting to cry.

“I got on the phone to police and they told me to get somewhere I could stand in light. There were no shops for me to go in.”

Instead she said she managed to get the attention of two other women who were out running and they kept her company until the police arrived.

Rachel said five police cars and a police dog unit arrived 15 minutes after she called 999 and she was given a lift home.

But she claims officers told her it was unlikely they would find the attacker.

The student went on to say she was so “caught up in the moment” she didn’t even think about Sarah Everard’s death.

The 33-year-old marketing executive disappeared while walking home from a friend’s in Clapham, south west London, on March 3, before her remains were found in a Kent woodland nine days later.

After speaking to her boyfriend on getting home, Rachel said she couldn’t believe someone would commit such an attack with all the media attention surrounding Sarah’s death.

The keen runner said she won’t be going out jogging at night anymore.

But added that she has dealt with groping and harassment from males on a regular basis since school.