A YOUNG woman has been sexually assaulted as she walked through an underpass in Yeovil.

The woman, 25, was walking along Princes Street and went into an underpass leading towards Yeovil District Hospital, when she heard footsteps behind her at arounf 1.20am on Sunday.

A man then forced her to the ground and sexually assaulted her. She was punched several times and suffered injuries to her face.

The victim managed to escape and the man ran off towards Reckleford.

Investigating officer Det Sgt Jon Hooper, of Yeovil CID, said: "I would firstly like to praise the victim who bravely fought the man off and managed to raise the alarm by hailing down a taxi driver.

"As a result of her resistance, the man may have suffered injuries to his face, so I would ask the public to think about whether they know someone who has suffered unexplained injuries to their face since Saturday night?

"The victim has given us a description of the man - he is white, in his mid-twenties, of average build, about 5ft 6ins, with blond hair. He was wearing a grey long-sleeved top and blue jeans.

"This was a horrific incident for the victim and she was taken to The Bridge, a sexual assault referral centre, where she was looked after by specially trained professionals, who will continue to give her all the help and support she needs.

"I would like to stress that incidents like this are rare. We have a team of officers dedicated to this inquiry and we will be doing everything we can to find the person responsible.

"We are now appealing for any witnesses to come forward. Were you in the area of the underpass or Reckleford in the early hours of Sunday morning? Did you see or hear anything suspicious, or see a man matching the description given? If you did, please come forward."

If you can help, please call Yeovil CID via the 24-hour non-emergency number 101.