Village attack was attempted rape

POLICE last night confirmed they are treating the attack of a 21-year-old university student in a quiet village as attempted rape.

John Howard

POLICE last night confirmed they are treating the attack of a 21-year-old university student in a quiet village as attempted rape.

A team of six officers have been drafted in to investigate the terrifying attack on the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The victim was forced into a car park in Little Stonham, near Stowmarket, as she was walking home.

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She was held against a wall during the attack by the man - who was wearing dark clothing at the time - before she managed to knee him in the groin and he fled.

Police are also now increasing patrols in the community, affectionately known as “Sleepy Stonham” by residents.

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Officers are also stressing that while assaults of this nature are rare in the county, women should avoid unlit areas at night, and where possible walk in groups.

Detective Inspector David Rutterford, who is overseeing the enquiry at Stowmarket, said: “There was no sexual assault although I believe his motivation was one of a sexual nature and he was scared off.

“I have classified this as an attempted rape and my concern is what might have happened if she had not fought him off. I do not want him to strike again, I want to catch him and make the streets safe in that area.

“This was an extremely frightening incident for the victim. Fortunately, assaults of this nature are rare in Suffolk. But I would urge people to consider their personal safety at night by taking simple precautions such as avoiding unlit areas and, where possible, walking in groups rather than alone.”

Chief Inspector Neal Atwell, mid Suffolk sector district commander, added: “I have officers out seeing how the community is and whether they are concerned that someone is prowling about. We will be paying more attention to the village to reassure people and will up police patrols.”

The man is described as having a stocky build, five feet eight inches tall, with dark hair and was wearing dark clothing.

Officers are urging anyone with information about this assault to come forward, particularly motorists who used the A140 on Wednesday night and anyone who saw a lone female walking along the road at around the time of the incident, or a man fleeing the scene.

The chapel is next to the busy A140 and police urged anyone with any information about the attack to call DI Rutterford on 01473 613500. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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