Pupils could help solve teenager rape
By Danielle NuttallCrime CorrespondentSCHOOL pupils may hold vital clues in the hunt for a middle-aged sex attacker who brutally raped a teenager.A number of high school pupils may have seen the rapist lurking in the Sidegate Lane area of Ipswich moments before he struck on Monday afternoon.
By Danielle Nuttall
SCHOOL pupils may hold vital clues in the hunt for a middle-aged sex attacker who brutally raped a teenager.
A number of high school pupils may have seen the rapist lurking in the Sidegate Lane area of Ipswich moments before he struck on Monday afternoon.
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The traumatised 18-year-old victim was being interviewed yesterday by specialist police officers.
She is not thought to have known her attacker and Suffolk police made an urgent appeal for the public's help in catching the rapist.
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The attack happened in Sidegate Lane in Ipswich at about 4pm on Monday. The teenager was approached by a man in the driveway of a house, was grabbed and forced into the property, where she was raped.
Her attacker then fled towards a lane that runs along the back of the houses in the road.
The area of the rape is near two schools - Sidegate Primary School in Sidegate Lane and Northgate High School in Sidegate Lane West.
Neil Watts, headteacher of Northgate High School, said yesterday police had not yet interviewed pupils for information.
“As far as I understand, the incident took place after the school had emptied out. We have had no direct contact from them inquiring as to witnesses from the school,” he added.
“Clearly, any incident of such a serious nature is of concern to me. Being so close to the school, it brings it home to you we need to be constantly vigilant.
“We have confidence in the police and sincerely hope they catch the perpetrator as quickly as possible.”
He continued: “We have just repeated our normal policy, which is for pupils to take care going home.
“They are not going home alone. We will make sure all those going home for lunch are those whose parents are expecting them and not just nipping off at lunchtime.
“We are trying to keep it as calm and normal as possible and are repeating normal guidance for safe movement to and from school.”
David Crowe, headteacher of Sidegate Primary School, said: “We are obviously very concerned and feel very sympathetic towards the person concerned.
“As far as the children are concerned, there's not a lot we can do. We can make sure the parents collect the children.
“All we can do is warn parents and children to be careful and vigilant and make sure children don't go home by themselves.
The rapist was described as white, aged in his 40s, with short black and grey hair and wearing a black jumper with a round neck.
Anyone with information should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.