Stick with friends plea as rapist hunted

DON'T walk home alone.That is the message tonight as many women head into town to enjoy a night out, in the wake of a woman being raped in Ipswich last Friday.

By Tracey Sparling

DON'T walk home alone.

That is the message tonight as many women head into town to enjoy a night out, in the wake of a woman being raped in Ipswich last Friday.

Community safety campaigners today united in their message, in a bid to prevent another Suffolk woman becoming vulnerable to attack on her way home at night.

Detective Inspector John Quinton, who is leading the hunt for the rapist and his accomplices, said: "Crimes like rape are fortunately quite rare in Suffolk, and people should not be unduly alarmed. However, we would always urge people to think about their personal safety before going on a night out.

"They should consider how they are going to get home, and make sure they tell someone where they will be, and what time they are likely to be home.

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"Groups of friends should stick together and agree a designated driver who will make sure everyone gets home safely. Or pre-book a taxi and arrange to be picked up from a busy, well-lit area."

It is now considered more effective to shout 'fire' instead of 'help', as it can get more results.

Pc Stephen Hudson, spokesman for Nightsafe which aims to make Ipswich safer at night, said: "We are trying to instil into all people who use the town centre in the evening, to plan their evening out. By doing that, they reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

"Think about where you are going, how you get there and how you will get home. The most important aspect is not to end up alone walking home or even alone just to your car."

At Cardinal Park, Clubwatch chairman Mark Pook from Liquid nightclub, said door staff in Ipswich are specially-trained to watch out for lone women.

He said: "It is a horrible scenario to think this rape has happened in Ipswich. In the wake of it, we will be extra vigilant, but it is an ongoing policy to look after single females. If our door staff see a girl on her own, they will talk to her and check she's okay. Nine out of ten women who leave alone will be picked up outside."

The nightbus operates every Friday and Saturday night in Ipswich, with all buses leaving from the Cattle Market bus station and Cardinal Park.


Anyone with information about last Friday's rape, is asked to call DS Duncan Sheppard at Ipswich CID on 01473 383132 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.



July 11, 2003: A 19-year-old girl was raped at Downside Close, after leaving Kartouche last Friday .

June 2003: The Star highlighted how a girl was attacked as she walked home in Doncaster late at night.

July 2001: A 19-year-old Colchester woman was raped after leaving Kartouche.

September 1999: Rapist Kevin Chambers attacked a woman twice within hours of being released from prison. His first victim had been walking home from a nightclub in Clacton.

September 1999: 17-year-old Vicky Hall was murdered on her way home from the Bandbox in Felixstowe.

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