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Teen, 19, charged with string of sex attacks on women on footpaths across Manchester and Cheshire

Ellen Manning
·2-min read
Some of the attacks took place on the Bridgewater Canal in Sale, Greater Manchester. (Google Maps)
Some of the attacks took place on the Bridgewater Canal in Sale, Greater Manchester. (Google Maps)

A 19-year-old has been charged with a string of sexual assaults on women on footpaths across Manchester and Cheshire.

Joshua Etchells, of Lowton Road, Sale, has been charged with 12 counts of sexual assault by touching between March 1 and 7, Greater Manchester Police said.

In each of the incidents, which happened across Sale, Altrincham, Timperley, Stretford, Old Trafford and Lymm, a man approached the victim from behind on a mountain bike and touched them inappropriately whilst riding past.

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Police said the charges are the result of Operation Carbon - a dedicated operation set up following a number of reports of sexual assault that happened between Monday, March 1 and Sunday, March 7.

The attacks were largely centred on canal and river towpaths as well as the Trans Pennine Trail trail — a long-distance path through the Pennines used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

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Etchells is due to appear before Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court on Monday (March 15).

He has been remanded in custody, Greater Manchester Police said.

Manchester, England- August 24, 2016: A sign post for the Trans Pennine Trail, a 215 miles long route for walkers and cyclists linking the North and Irish seas, through the Pennines in northern England
Some of the assaults took place on the Trans Pennine Trail. (Getty)

A 28-year-old man previously arrested on suspicion of sexual assault has since been released with no further action.

Greater Manchester Police worked with Cheshire Police to investigate the attacks and said while nobody was injured, the victims had been left distressed by the incidents.

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