Ashford man John Williams charged with 11 sex attacks on women
An Ashford man has been remanded in custody accused of a string of sex attacks on women.
John Williams, of Essetford Road, Ashford, has been charged with 11 assaults alleged to have been committed over almost three years.
The 46-year-old appeared at Canterbury Magistrates' Court this morning and will next appear at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday, November 4.
Forensics officers in the area where one of the assaults took place
He was charged by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate after being arrested on Wednesday.
Ten of the sex assault charges relate to incidents in Ashford and one in Chatham. They date from November 9, 2010 to August 2, 2013.
Wearing a blue t-shirt and glasses, unshaven Williams spoke only to confirm his identity during the short hearing.
Williams mouthed "I love you" to his wife and family, who were in the public gallery
His arrest came after Kent Police launched a large-scale manhunt when they linked three sex attacks - including one on a schoolgirl.
The first attack took place on June 29, 2012, when a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in woodland close to the John Wesley Primary School in Singleton.
The second attack happened when a 47-year-old woman was out walking her dog on waste ground off Britannia Lane, Knights Park, on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
And the latest attack happened on the afternoon of Friday, August 2, when a 23-year-old female dog walker was on a wooded footpath off Bucksford Lane, near Singleton Lake.
Police out in force after the Singleton Lake attack
Officers undertook a massive intelligence-gathering and public awareness campaign in the search for the attacker.
Over the course of the operation, DNA evidence was collected from more than 80 men across the borough.
Officers canvassed more than 5,000 homes in Singleton and South Ashford areas of the town, distributing leaflets featuring an efit image of the suspect and details of the attacks.
More than 100 schools, shops, dentists, and businesses were also visited, with posters placed in prominent locations, as well as parish council notice boards.
Stories you might have missed
- Click here for more Ashford news
- Click here for more news from across the county