Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Police issue fresh appeal in Sugarhouse rape investigation

The detective leading the investigation into a rape in Lancaster has issued a fresh appeal for information – three weeks after it happened.

At around 12.30am on Tuesday 1st October, an 18-year-old student was confronted by a man as she left a toilet cubicle in The Sugar House and was pushed back inside where she was raped.

The woman managed to fend off her attacker before running from the toilets to raise the alarm. She described her attacker as a white man, about 6ft tall, blond hair, aged 18-30 years.

He was wearing a light coloured short sleeved top with no collar, but he may also have been wearing a long sleeved shirt or jacket and darker trousers.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gilbert said: “I have a dedicated team of detectives working on this case as we continue to try and find the person responsible.

“This would have been a very busy evening and was just one of the Fresher’s events being held that week. It was open to County, Longsdale and Graduate students but I cannot guarantee that the wider public did not have access to the Sugar House so my appeal goes out to anyone who was out that night.

“I want people to reflect on who they were out with that night, was there anyone in the group who fits the description of the person we need to trace.

“The offence was committed between 12.30 and 12.45am – did anyone in your group leave you ate that time and say they were going to the toilet? Did anyone matching the description leave the venue suddenly? Do you know of anyone who had sex in the club that night or have you heard anyone bragging? If anyone can help with these questions or who has any information I’d appeal with them to contact us.”

Officers are still keen for a man captured on CCTV and heading towards the ladies’ toilets (moving footage attached) to come forward along with other potential witnesses, including a woman who seems to be coming out of the ladies’ toilets (still attached).

Detective Chief Inspector Gilbert added: “We are also still keen to speak with a second year female student who is believed to be studying law at Lancaster University and possibly spoke with the victim in the ladies’ toilets around the time of the incident. If this was you please come forward.

“There were around 1400 people in the club that night and once again I would like to reiterate our appeal to speak to any women who remember a man walking into the ladies’ toilets, or who saw a man in there, or who heard any shouting. If any men were in the ladies’ toilets for any reason we would also like them to come forward so we can speak to them and eliminate them from our enquiries.

“We are continuing to support the young woman who has suffered a particularly distressing ordeal and once again I would like to reassure people that sexual assaults of this nature are rare.”

• Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 quoting log number 0028 of 1 October or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org

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