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Bike helped identify man accused of Bristol-Bath path sexual assaults, court told

Bike rider on trial after six women had their bottoms slapped or pinched last year

A man on trial for six sexual assaults on women using the Bristol to Bath Railway Path was identified in part due to the distinctive bike he was riding, a court has been told.

Luke Alder, aged 21 and from Kingswood, is on trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of being responsible for the series of assaults between May and July 2013, reports the Bristol Post. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Six women either running or cycling on the shared-use path had their bottoms either pinched or slapped by a man on a bike, leading police to issue a warning to users of the popular route.

Paul Cook, prosecuting, told Bristol Crown Court: "The assaults took place over five-and-a-half weeks and all have a common theme.

"All occurred on the Bristol to Bath cycle path and all were sexual assaults by slapping or pinching backsides of females.

"They were all committed by a man who was white, aged in his 20s.

"They were all committed by a man on a bike in cycling kit, and there are certain common themes running through them.

"Some detail points very clearly to this defendant, such as tattoos on his arm and the type of bike."

Mr Cook ran through details of the incidents and the descriptions of the man provided by the victims.

One said that he had a black Animal rucksack, and police found a navy blue one from the same brand at his home. She also described how he had a tattoo on his right arm, and picked Alder out from an identity parade.

Mr Cook said that a seventh woman had told a male cyclist who got too close to her to drop back, and she noticed that he was riding a white bike with yellow handlebars from Bristol-based Webbs of Warmley.

"She contacted Webbs of Warmley. They said only one person had that bike. They confirmed that was the defendant, Luke Alder," said Mr Cook.

He also provided the jury with a map that he said showed that Alder’s mobile phone was in the area of each assault at the time in question.

The defendant told police he rode his bike on the path daily to get to and from work, but denies the charges.

The trial continues.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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