Russell Brand faces police probe over claims he sexually assaulted a woman in London in 2003

Russell Brand faces a police probe over claims he sexually assaulted a woman in London.

Scotland Yard last night revealed it had received an allegation of an attack in 2003 – three years before the spate of rape and sex abuse claims that have emerged.

The BBC star now faces the prospect of a full criminal investigation.

Detectives have appealed for other potential victims to come forward.

Brand, 48, denies all the claims against him which he has dismissed as a ‘mainstream media’ conspiracy.

Last night the Metropolitan Police said it had “received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003. Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.”

It came as the Brand scandal threatened to spiral into a ‘MeToo’ crisis for comedy.

Claims it was an ‘open secret’ he was a predator prompted senior MPs to warn broadcasters they face a ‘full-on inquiry’.

Yesterday, as the BBC and Channel 4, where the millionaire comedian worked at the height of his fame began ‘urgently’ investigating themselves, it emerged:

Brand, who denies all wrongdoing, is accused of subjecting one woman to rape and sexually assaulting others between 2006 and 2013 when he worked at the BBC and Channel 4.

A businesswoman known as Nadia, who alleged to The Times she was raped against a wall by the star, told of her relief that others were now coming forward, saying:

“He cannot hurt me any more and hopefully he will not hurt anybody else.

“I’m super-proud of all the women who have come forward. I know how hard it is, thinking ‘I’m the only one’ and ‘Who is going to believe me?’.’ “

It is understood the investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme spoke to more women than the four alleged victims who featured in the documentary, but the others eventually decided they did not want to take part.

Scotland Yard has urged other alleged victims to come forward, and last night revealed the case of the woman who claims she was assaulted in 2003.

She has not spoken publicly about her alleged ordeal.

The Met said: “We continue to encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us.”

Pressure for police to act also came from the chairman of the Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, Caroline Nokes, who told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “These allegations are incredibly shocking and criminal. I would very much hope that complaints will be made both to the Metropolitan Police and indeed in the States, because this merits and needs a criminal investigation. For too long we have seen men – and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are almost invariably men – not being held to account for their behaviours and their actions.”

Later, she told Times Radio that the women who have come forward with allegations against Brand ‘need to be brave again’ and go to the police. “I think what matters most is that there is a formal police investigation and that if there is good cause, criminal charges be brought”, she said.

Meanwhile Spencer Kuvin, a Florida lawyer who represented nine victims of US financier Jeffrey Epstein, said American police could investigate a rape case if the businesswoman Nadia opted to pursue it.

She has claimed Brand raped her at his home in Los Angeles in July 2012 when she refused to join him in a threesome with ‘a friend’.

She told how she was treated at a rape crisis centre that same day, and kept a text message from Brand allegedly apologising for his ‘crazy and selfish’ behaviour.

The rape centre also informed the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

Brand denies the claims.

Mr Kuvin said: “If the facts are accurate as stated then it would appear that police would likely have a case.”

Mark Bederow, a criminal defence lawyer in New York, added: “Russell Brand should be very concerned about an LAPD investigation.

“Also you have statements [allegedly] made in texts by Russell Brand which are not helpful for him.”

Brand has used his YouTube channel to strenuously deny all the claims, blaming a conspiracy by the ‘mainstream media’.

Famous for his highly-sexualised and crude comedy, he has previously boasted of sleeping with 80 women a month.

But he categorically insists all his relationships were consensual.

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Russell Brand denies the allegations against him, in a new Youtube video. Credit: Russell Brand/Youtube

Over the weekend, his literary agent Tavistock Wood dumped him while the Trevi Women and Children’s Charity also cut ties.

Yesterday Noreen Oliver, the director of drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity BAC O’Connor, said it too had severed links.

There has been no sign of Brand at his £5 million riverside home in Henley-on-Thames, but his father Ron Brand, 80 – who introduced his son to prostitutes aged 16 – called the accusations ‘unproven’.

He declared: ‘Is this seriously the most important thing happening in this world?”.

He suggested dark forces including the BBC were pursuing a ‘vendetta’ against his son.

Social media star Andrew Tate, who has also been accused of rape, also leapt to Brand’s defence.

Caroline Dineage, chairman of the Commons’ culture committee, told Times Radio there could be ‘a full-on inquiry into this kind of behaviour at the heart of television’.

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