Fresh sightings of masked man in Claverham sparks fears gimp from 2019 is back
A couple in Claverham, south west of Bristol, called the police earlier this month after spotting a masked man spying on them through their windows.
Two years ago, there were a series of incidents when a man in a black gimp costume jumped out at people late at night in the same village.
One victim described the masked assailant then as “touching his groin, grunting and breathing heavily”.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they had been called back to Claverham on 1 September at 12.15am but could not find the man.
Officers said they were keeping an open mind as to whether the latest incident was connected to the 2019 gimp sightings.
A woman, who asked not to be named, told the BBC: “I’ve got older children and even my kids are saying ‘it’s the gimp man again’. They’re really freaked out by it.
“But it could be anyone and I want to come from a practical point of view and do something to help people feel safer.
“I’m not too bothered to walk around on my own but it freaks my children out and I want them to feel safer.”
The previous victim from 2019, a woman called Abi, said she immediately felt panic and anxiety when she heard there had been fresh sightings.
“My heart felt like I was running a marathon, [there was] an instant feeling of panic, anxiety and anger again which took me over a year of private counselling and medications to control,” she told the BBC.
“If I’m not worrying at home, I’m worrying at work because my wife’s at home and so are many other women.”
At the time she managed to take a picture of the man in the gimp suit, but although police arrested two men in July 2019 on suspicion of indecency offences, they were later released due to lack of evidence.
Avon and Somerset Police have asked Claverham locals to check if they have any dashcam or doorbell camera footage to share with detectives investigating the new reports.
Officers are also stepping up foot patrols through the village overnight to reassure residents.