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Police investigate alleged sexual assault at Swiss Cottage backpackers' hostel

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 August 2019

Palmers Lodge, Swiss Cottage. Picture: Google

Palmers Lodge, Swiss Cottage. Picture: Google

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Police are investigating claims that a woman was sexually assaulted while staying at a Swiss Cottage backpackers' hostel.

The woman, who has an automatic right to anonymity due to the nature of the allegation, said she was groped and harrassed by a man on the premises of Palmers Lodge, in College Crescent, over the summer.

She had been visiting London, and - rather than staying with friends as she would usually, she decided to book in at the hostel because she "wanted to have a proper hostel experience".

She told this newspaper: "I had a bad experience in a hostel in Swiss Cottage. I was touched inappropriately.

"They were repeatedly trying to grope me.

"I was a woman travelling alone and this is just disgusting. I want to warn everyone about this."

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A Met Police spokesperson confirmed a crime had been reported. They said: "Officers from the Central North Command Unit are investigating an allegation of sexual assault.

"The victim, a women in in her 30s, informed officers that she had been sexually assaulted at a hostel in Hampstead."

The police said their enquiries are still going on and, as yet, no one has been arrested.

The woman said she had been pushing the hostel to do its own investigation, and in emails seen by this newspaper the hostel confirmed it was carrying out an internal probe.

When contacted by this newspaper a senior member of staff at the hostel said: "We of course take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and are co-operating with the police's investigation."

They declined to comment further about their own investigation into the incident or any steps they may have taken since the report was made.

Palmers Lodge, Swiss Cottage, describes itself as "an award winning boutique hostel in central London housed in a legendary building".

The company also run a second youth hostel in Brondesbury Park.

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