Forensics experts trawl for clues to man who raped girl, 17, this morning

Posted On 15 Feb 2011 at 6:57 pm

A park in Hove was still cordoned off this afternoon as forensics experts looked for clues to trace the man who raped a teenage girl early this morning.

The girl, 17, suffered “a frightening attack”, said one detective, as she walked home from the centre of Brighton via the Seven Dials.

She was grabbed from behind in Dyke Road, near the Booth Museum, at about 12.30am and dragged across the road to Dyke Road Park.

There, at the back of a hut near the tennis courts, her attacker raped her.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, from the Sussex Police Major Crime Branch, is heading the investigation.

He said: “The area where the attack took place is still cordoned off while forensic examinations are being carried out.

“The investigation is focusing on the scene of the attack and areas around it.

“Officers are continuing with house-to-house inquiries and CCTV from both commercial and residential properties is being viewed.

“The victim took a busy route home and we are hoping that someone may have seen her being followed by the suspect.”

Detective Chief Inspector Bowles said that the girl left the Clock Tower in Brighton at around midnight and walked to Dyke Road via the Seven Dials.

She was using her iPod while she walked home, he said.

He added: “Attacks of this nature are rare but I would urge women when walking at night to please be vigilant.”

The girl ran to the nearby Tesco Express after the attack and called the police.

The suspect is described as a stockily built olive-skinned man in his thirties, with short dark hair, sideburns and slight facial hair.

He had what sounded like a European accent, possibly French or Italian.

Detective Inspector Steve Warner said: “This was a frightening attack on a woman walking home after a night out.

“The victim is with specially trained officers and receiving help and support.”

Sussex Police said that the attack was not being formally linked at this stage to any other sexual assaults in Brighton and Hove.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 0845 6070999 or to call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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