At least ten women were attacked at a Barcelona metro station by a man believed to have targeted them because of their gender, police have said, as investigators are probing the vile assaults as a possible hate crime.
It was initially thought the aggressor, a 30-year-old Moroccan man, could have been acting under the influence of drink and drugs when he assaulted the women in a spree of violent attacks.
Details of The Attacks
He was filmed punching one of his unsuspecting victims in the face and slamming her to the floor as she listened to music on headphones and looked at her mobile, leaving her with a perforated eardrum.
Now it has emerged a police unit specialising in tackling hate crimes is leading the ongoing probe after officers studied CCTV footage.
What People Think
They have concluded the man appeared to have targeted only women and may have picked them out randomly because of their gender.
Six of the women, including the one punched in the face in the most savage assault, were attacked as they waited on the platform at Camp de l’Arpa station on line five of the Barcelona metro.
The attacker hit his last victim so hard he also lost his balance and tumbled as she fell to the ground.
Intervention From Police
Police are understood to have gathered evidence pointing to at least four more assaults.
They went public Saturday morning with an appeal for victims to come forward over the incident after arresting the suspect late on Friday night.
He has Criminal Records
The unnamed detainee is said to have previously committed a number of thefts, although he appeared to be making no attempt to steal anything from the women he assaulted on Friday morning.
Police initially formally identified him after he was intercepted by tube security staff before releasing him with the intention of preparing a full report so he could be summoned to attend court at a later date for questioning.
It was thought he had only committed a minor assault before the full scale of the violence became apparent.
He was re-arrested around 11pm on Friday after officers had been handed the CCTV showing him attacking several women on the station platform and seriously injuring one of his victims.
Many of the female commuters had already boarded their train and left the station by the time officials intervened.