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Suspect breaks leg jumping from 3rd-floor balcony after sexual assault in East Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Woman attacked by stranger in East Vancouver apartment' Woman attacked by stranger in East Vancouver apartment
A man is facing multiple charges after a terrifying incident in East Vancouver over the weekend. Police say a stranger broke into a woman's apartment, where he trapped and assaulted her. Catherine Urquhart reports – Jul 13, 2022

A Vancouver police investigation has led to a man being charged after a woman was confined and sexually assaulted in her home, police say.

The incident took place in an East Vancouver neighbourhood near Broadway and Carolina Street on July 9.

“We received an abandoned 911 call, someone called for help then the line got disconnected,” Sgt. Steve Addison said.

“Through working with E-Comm, we were able to trace the abandoned 911 call to a residence. When we arrived on scene, our officers determined there was a crime in progress.”

Addison continued, “we believed there was a woman who was being forcibly confined in her own home. We were able to make entry to provide assistance to the woman and arrest the person we believe is responsible for that offence.”

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Click to play video: 'Woman attacked by stranger in her Vancouver home' Woman attacked by stranger in her Vancouver home
Woman attacked by stranger in her Vancouver home – Jul 13, 2022

A couple who witnessed some of the incident talked to Global News, but did not give their identity for security reasons.

“We heard somebody trying to kick a door in,” said one of the witnesses.

“We heard a police officer at the door with his weapon drawn, saying, ‘What is going on here? You need to stop what you’re doing.’”

Read more: Vancouver police officer could face charges over takedown involving police dog

The couple told Global News that they heard the woman say, “I can’t open the door, he won’t let me.”

“Then the battering ram came.”

Neighbours said the suspect tried to evade police by jumping off a third-storey balcony, but didn’t get far.

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He reportedly landed on a first-floor balcony, breaking his leg.

Read more: Woman arrested after man fatally stabbed in downtown Vancouver

Vancouver Police Department said officials have been investigating more than 40 different ‘stranger attacks’ from this past spring, comparing them to find out why these types of incidents are happening.

“What we’re seeing is there’s a significant number of cases where mental health is a factor,” Addison said.

“More than half of (the cases we studied), the suspects have been previously apprehended under the B.C. Mental Health Act. Eight out of ten involve people who have been previously arrested for a criminal offense and six out of 10 involve people who have been previously arrested and charged with a violent-criminal offence.”

After analyzing the cases, Addison said VPD is starting to see “some trends.”

Read more: One arrested and charged after downtown Vancouver carjacking, police say

Howard Lethbridge, 32, has been charged with sexual assault, unlawful confinement, being unlawfully in a dwelling-house and willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer.

Lethbridge is expected in court for an appearance on Thursday, July 14.

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