Why can't we be safe here?
Updated 11:54am Tuesday 1st July 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
USERS of a cycle path where a 60-year-old man was murdered on Thursday are calling for CCTV to be installed.
They say the path close to the Oasis Leisure Centre has been the scene of a number of violent incidents and is dubbed ‘Muggers Alley’.
Aulton ‘Tom’ Rogers was stabbed to death as he cycled along the path on Thursday night.
Tom Wright, 52, of Cheney Manor, uses the path regularly and has complained about security measures twice in the past two years.
Last October he was involved in an altercation while walking his dog when a man threatened him with a knife, and Tom believes better CCTV and increased patrols would help make the isolated area feel safer for users.
“I walk that path twice a week with my dog and on weekends I will cycle it if I go to the pub or I go into town,” he said.
“I have also been cycling through there at that sort of time of night, but thankfully I wasn’t last Thursday.
“Obviously the CCTV cameras they have got right on the underpass have been shown to be very poor quality. A few months ago a woman was assaulted down there and the picture the police got from that probably sums it up. They desperately need good CCTV coverage on the skate park.
“This time of year it does not get dark until about 10pm, so the worrying thing about this is that it was probably still a little light when it happened.
“It is also quite astounding that he was there for two hours and no-one saw him passing through until midnight.
“One time last year I was walking back home after the pub at about 10pm and there was a group hanging around between the Oasis and the underpass. One of them had one of those pitbull type terriers with him, and was shouting at me to put my dog Bosley, who is a black labrador, back on his leash.
“As I got closer the guy let his dog off his leash deliberately and they squared up a bit. We pulled our dogs off each other and there were a few words exchanged, at which point he said he had a knife.
“I just made my exit at that point, and called the police when I got clear. People have got lots of stories about that area I should think –it can’t just be me.”
Tom said a night-time curfew on the underpass, similar to the set opening hours of the underpass running from Station Road to the Outlet Centre, would be impracticable.
“Certain types of people get attracted to that area because it is a bit secluded,” he said. “I think it’s a case of out of sight out of mind, but after what happened on Thursday something has to be done.
“I have complained about that route twice but nothing has happened. We don’t know the circumstances of this case with Mr Rogers, but hopefully it will bring about some change in the area.
“The Outlet underpass shuts at night for that very reason, but this path is a major route through the town so you couldn’t shut it down. If you did it would make that area even more isolated.
“For the people who skate there and use the facilities it’s a pretty great place, but it just needs more coverage so that people in general feel safer.
“I will carry on using it. I’m not naive and I am concerned. It is just a very worrying aspect that there is someone out there who would do something like this.”
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