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Ipswich: Neighbours shocked to learn of alleyway rape next to homes

PUBLISHED: 13:55 05 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:55 05 March 2014

Suffolk Police cordoned off the area on Cromer Road where a woman reported being raped on Monday night.

Suffolk Police cordoned off the area on Cromer Road where a woman reported being raped on Monday night.

Neighbours living on either side of an Ipswich alleyway where a woman was raped have spoken of their shock at discovering the sex attack had happened next to their homes.

A 27-year-old woman contacted police officers at around 10.40pm on Monday, telling them she had been grabbed by a man and raped earlier in the evening.

The victim had been walking along Norwich Road in Ipswich and turned into Cromer Road at around 8.30pm. While walking along the road towards Bramford Lane, she was approached by a man who asked her the time. He then took hold of the woman, pulling her into an area where bins are stored and raping her.

Police last night carried out anniversary checks in the area, making further enquiries with residents.

Robert Malcolm, who lives next to the alleyway with his wife and two children, said: “I was woken at midnight by a police officer at the door. They told me about an incident in the alley next door but didn’t go into specifics.

“It’s a main thoroughfare, so you sometimes hear noises at night, but we were at home in the evening and didn’t hear anything until getting that knock on the door.

“I just hope the victim is alright. If she had knocked on the door I would have made sure she was alright and called the police.”

Sartiv Abass, who lives on the other side of the alleyway, returned home at 11pm on Monday after visiting family. He said: “We didn’t know about it. The police told us. It was shocking.

“Nothing like this has happened in the time we’ve lived here. I would say it’s normally a safe place to live.”

Police are looking for a suspect of mixed race, 35 to 40 years old, with short black hair. He wore black jeans, black shoes and a black waist-length jacket.

The victim has been seen by specially-trained officers and is receiving support.

Anyone in the Cromer Road/Norwich Road area on Monday night who saw a man matching the description, or noticed anything suspicious, should call DI Darren Bruce at Ipswich police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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