A woman in her 50s reported being dragged to the ground as she went running in the popular Rosental park on Friday morning. Her attacker then dragged her into a field and raped her, police report.
During the assault he kicked and punched the women so hard in her face that she had to undergo emergency surgery after she was found.
Leipzig police responded to the crime by telling a local newspaper that “it would be better if women jogged in pairs, or at the least that they make sure that there is always someone else around.”
“When they run past someone, joggers should always look back to make sure they are not about to be attacked,” the police spokesperson advised.
It was the first time that a sexual assault of such brutality had happened in Leipzig for a long time, police added.
The police response to the rape met with immediate anger in the German media. Bild asked on Monday why police encouraged women to reduce their personal freedoms rather than assuring them that they would be protected.
On Monday Leipzig mayor Burkhard Jung joined the chorus of criticism, saying that “the state’s answer to this terrible incident and to previous such incidents must be to put more police on the streets and in the parks - I have been calling for this for years.”
“We all want to live in a city in which it is self-evident that women can go jogging alone in the park, a city in which everyone is safe,” he told Bild. “We clearly need a more visible police force for that.”
Police are still searching for the suspected rapist, who they describe as being of “southern” appearance, with dark hair, a short beard, and aged between 25 and 35. He was wearing grey knee-length trousers and a blue-green chequered shirt.
Police are also investigating whether he is linked to two sexual assaults which took place recently in the same area.