In November 2002 an email was widely distributed amongst British computer
users concerning the manhunt for a serial rapist.
The email comes in a number of different versions, many of which have a
graphic file attached of what the rapist is believed to look like. However, the
graphic attached to the email is different from the electronic e-fit
distributed by Surrey Police.
Some users are concerned that the attachment may contain a virus - however,
Sophos has seen no instances of the chain letter to date which have a virus
attached. Nevertheless Sophos recommends users think carefully before
forwarding the email because of the bandwidth it can use up, and the risk that
an image that is not that of the suspect is attached.
A further danger of forwarding an email like this, with an attached graphic
rather than a link to a police website which contains the graphic, is if the
police force decides to issue an updated image of what they believe the suspect
to look like based on information which may become available in the future.
Once a chain letter is released, it is impossible to retract it with updated
Instead, Sophos recommends that people who wish to assist in the
investigation monitor the Surrey Police website.
The text of the email reads as follows:
We have been asked to distribute this message as widely as possible. So
The Chief Constable of Surrey Police has asked each officer to distribute this
email in an effort to prevent further serious offences involving the serial
rapist that has been widely reported on local and national news. Last week in
the Bracknell News it was reported that the offender may be linked to recent
offences in Bracknell, Berkshire. It is requested that you forward the email to
friends and relatives who may be vulnerable. OPERATION ORB Police are working
hard to catch a serial rapist who has now struck nine times, eight of those
over the past three months. His victims are women and girls aged between 10 and
52 years old. In Surrey he has committed offences in Epsom, Redhill and the
Woking area. The offender takes considerable risks, attacking his victims on
well-used public footpaths or common land adjacent to nearby wooded areas,
mostly during daylight hours. Police are asking everyone to be vigilant and not
put themselves in unnecessary danger by walking alone in the type of locations
that the rapist uses. The offender approaches his victims from behind and has
targeted cyclists as well as females wearing headphones.
The rapist is described as a white male, aged between 30 and 50 years old, with
short dark hair, of medium height with a muscular build and rough, tanned skin.
If you see anyone matching this description acting suspiciously, or
threateningly towards you, please contact your local police or ring