Police question man over rape allegation

DETECTIVES were last night questioning a man after a 16-year-old was attacked and raped as she walked home from a nightclub.The victim had been out with friends at Chicago's in Freeport, Braintree, before she was forced to endure the horrific ordeal in the early hours of Saturday morning.

By Roddy Ashworth

DETECTIVES were last night questioning a man after a 16-year-old was attacked and raped as she walked home from a nightclub.

The victim had been out with friends at Chicago's in Freeport, Braintree, before she was forced to endure the horrific ordeal in the early hours of Saturday morning.

As she made her way home through a retail unit car park, she was approached by a man who struck up a conversation with her.


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He joined the girl and was walking along a footpath near Braintree Football Club's ground when he grabbed her, pushed her to the ground and subjected her to a serious sexual assault.

The girl – who cannot be named for legal reasons – eventually managed to fight her attacker off, run to a nearby house and raise the alarm.

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She sustained a number of minor injuries during the struggle to free herself. The alleged rape happened between 2.30am and 3.15am.

Police said that the footpath the young girl was walking along when the attack happened was well-lit.

It runs from Millennium Way to Stubbs Lane, along the length of Alec Hunter School and backs on to the football ground.

Yesterday specialist officers were conducting a series of fingertip searches near the area to gather evidence.

The inquiry was being headed by Detective Superintendent Colin Steele, of Essex Police's major investigations section.

Last night, Neil Coughlan, a Braintree district councillor for the area in which the attack happened, said people had expressed concerns about safety in the light of the alleged rape.

He added that fears about community safety in the Freeport area – a large retail park – had grown in recent years.

"I don't know the details of what happened, but there has been concern about growing anti-social behaviour around Freeport. Traditionally the area has been really quiet but now that is changing."

He added that he was surprised the girl had been out at a nightclub at the age of 16.

"I understand the council will be having more control over licensing and this is the type of thing we will have to look at with the police.

"There is underage drinking in the district, and although people can look older than their age perhaps there should be some sort of membership scheme for this sort of place."

A police spokeswoman said: "A 42-year-old man from the Stansted area of Essex has been arrested on suspicion of rape.

"His arrest on Saturday night follows an attack on a 16-year-old girl from Braintree as she walked home from a night out with friends.

"He is being held at Colchester Police Station for questioning."

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