Police received a report at 6.45am today (Mon Sept 3) that a woman had been attacked a short time before outside the closed down New Roscoe pub on Bristol Street.
The victim, who is aged in her fifties, had been walking to work at about 6.15am when she was approached by a man who threatened her before subjecting her to a serious sexual assault.
He was described as black, possibly of African or Ethiopian ethnicity, aged 35 to 40, slim build, with short dark hair.
A man who was passing by intervened and the suspect ran off.
The passer-by walked the victim away from the scene and the police were alerted.
He left without giving his details and officers are keen to speak to him as a witness.
A scene is in place in Bristol Street to undergo forensic examination and the victim is being supported by specially-trained officers.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Scott, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “The victim has been left understandably traumatised as a result of this attack and we urgently need to identify the man responsible and arrest him.
“We are carrying out extensive enquiries into the incident and would like to hear from anyone who was in the area and saw a man fitting his description or who saw anything that could assist the investigation.
“We also need to speak to the man who went to the victim’s aid as he is an important witness. I would ask him to get in touch as soon as possible.
“We recognise that this incident will cause concern in the community and we are working closely with our district colleagues on the local neighbourhood policing team who have increased their patrols of the area while our enquiries to trace the suspect continue.”
Anyone with any information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101 quoting crime reference 13180438500 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.