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Spy camera hope in hunt for rapist

PUBLISHED: 13:52 30 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

DETECTIVES are to trawl through CCTV footage as they continue their hunt to catch the man who befriended and then raped a 19-year-old woman in Ipswich in the early hours of Saturday morning.

DETECTIVES are to trawl through CCTV footage as they continue their hunt to catch the man who befriended and then raped a 19-year-old woman in Ipswich in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The teenager had been to Kartouche nightclub with two female friends on Friday night but left alone at about midnight after a disagreement with them.

She didn't know the area and arranged to be collected by her boyfriend at the A14/A12 Copdock interchange. As she sat crying on a bench opposite Ipswich Railway Station on Ranelagh Road a man approached her and gained her trust.

He said he would show her the way, and led her up Ancaster Road and Birkfield Drive before turning into Stone Lodge Lane to a secluded lane near Paul's Sports and Social Club, where he tried to kiss her.

She resisted at which point he raped her before running off along the footpath.

Det Supt Roy Lambert said: "This was a frightening attack on a young woman, whose only mistake was to be too trusting when the rapist offered his 'help' to meet her boyfriend.

"The rapist coldly exploited that trust, luring the victim to a quiet area, where he could launch his attack. The way he planned this rape shows a calculating side to his nature and it is essential we trace him immediately."

At Paul's Sports and Social Club, a cricket pitch backs on to the secluded spot where the rape took place.

On Friday night, a function had been taking place at the club and the members' bar had been open, with people leaving to make their way home at around midnight.

People living opposite the lane where the teenager was raped were today shocked to hear of what happened.

James Kenna, of Stone Lodge Lane, said: "It's dreadful. When it's walking home time from the pubs you often hear shouting and commotion and I sometimes come out to look and see what's going on but I didn't come out last night and never heard anything."

He added that the pathway where the rape took place was put in because of the dangers of walking along the road, but was dimly lit and created a different danger.

An incident room has been set up at Suffolk Police Headquarters, Martlesham, and officers are due to conduct house-to-house enquiries.

Detectives are concerned that the rapist could strike again. They are keen to trace anyone in the area between midnight and 1.30am on Saturday.

Det Supt Lambert said: "I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time to contact us immediately. This was a shocking attack on a young woman, which has left her deeply shaken."

Police have taken the unusual step of releasing a description of the woman to jog people's memories.

She is white and was wearing a white skirt and black knee-length boots.

The rapist is described as white, in his early 20s, about 5ft 8in or 5ft 9in, plump with short spiky brown hair. He was wearing a blue shirt and dark trousers and was clean-shaven.

Following the attack, a man came to the teenager's aid. He called the victim's boyfriend to give him directions before walking the teenager back into town to meet him. The good Samaritan has been helping detectives with their enquiries.

Following the rape police are reinforcing the message that people should not walk about alone at night.

Det Supt Lambert said: "This rapist could be local, he certainly had local knowledge, and it is always possible he may target other vulnerable women in the town."

Anyone with information, or who was in the area of the railway station, Princes Street, Ranelagh Road, Ancaster Road, Birkfield Drive or Stone Lodge Lane between midnight and 1.30am is asked to contact police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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