Women only avoided being raped during a New Year's Eve sexual frenzy by refugee mobs because they were wearing tights, a senior policewoman in Cologne has said.

Police Commissioner Sonja E., 26, was giving evidence before a fact-finding investigative committee of the state parliament in Dusseldorf when she made the statement about the everyday apparel sparing women from horrendous ordeals.

The policewoman, whose surname was withheld in the public hearing, told how she helped four victims near the entrance to Cologne Cathedral on the night of the attacks in and around the central station.

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