Community's shock over sexual assault in Ipswich park
PUBLISHED: 16:02 08 February 2020
Residents and community leaders have spoken of their feelings after a boy was allegedly sexually assaulted in an Ipswich park.
Suffolk Constabulary said they were called to Gippeswyk Park, close to Ipswich train station, at 8.50pm on Friday.
Residents in the area reported seeing a large police presence, including a forensics van, called to the scene.
It later emerged that a boy had been allegedly sexually assaulted at the park.
Police cordoned off an area of the open space in order to conduct an investigation, which lasted well into Saturday morning.
Elizabeth Hughes, Labour ward councillor for Gipping, said the park is not usually busy at night apart from a few people using it to walk through.
Mrs Hughes expressed her shock to the incident and said she wasn't aware of any similar cases happening in the past.
She said: "The park is a well-used resource. A lot of people walk through there, and I use the park myself.
"I haven't heard any complaints about the park - there has been nothing to suggest it isn't safe.
"Councillors have regular meetings with the police and sexual assault is not something that has been flagged up.
"This is an unusual thing to have happened.
"I'm very shocked, as this type of assault is not very common.
"I sincerely hope it is a one-off incident and I hope the alleged victim is okay."
Alistair Parker, who lives in nearby Pimpernel Road, said: "It's a shocking incident. You're not always safe to walk the streets.
"I'm sorry to hear about this. It shows that trouble can flare up anywhere."
Another resident close to the park, who did not wish to be named, added: "The park is usually fairly quiet at night. There's sometimes people in it but you wouldn't expect the worst to happen."