A TEENAGER was held down and raped in a sickening late-night sex attack this week.
The 17-year-old girl had left her boyfriend’s house to go for a walk when she was targeted near the playing fields between The Ridge and Harrow Lane at about 11pm on Friday.
Two men shouted at her before one of them punched in the face and she fell to the floor. He then held her while his friend raped her.
She is the third teenage girl to be attacked in the past nine months after an 18-year-old girl was raped near Warrior Square station, St Leonards, in April and a 17-year-old fought off a man who tried to rape her in Old London Road in August. Nobody has been charged in relation to these offences and though police are not linking the attacks, they are urging women to be careful after dark. Forensic officers have been combing the Harrow Lane scene for clues amid fears the duo could strike again.
The victim, from Hailsham, reported the attack after she told her mum on Saturday night and specially-trained officers have been supporting her since the ordeal.
Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, who is leading the inquiry, said: “She had just left the home of her boyfriend to get some fresh air. There is nothing more sinister about why she was out and there is absolutely no reason why a 17-year-old girl shouldn’t be able to walk quite safely at that time of night.
“I understand that attacks of this nature are of great concern to all of us who live in the local community and we are very much alive to that. What I would reassure people is that attacks of this random, violent nature are extremely rare and we putting a significant amount of resources, into catching these two men.”
The man who punched the girl and held her down is described as white, around five feet five inches tall and of small build. He had a southern accent and appeared to be in his early 20s. He was wearing a black hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms with white trainers.
The man who raped her was black, about five feet seven inches tall and of large build. He had a London accent and is said to have been in his late 20s. He was wearing a grey hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms with white trainers.
DCI Trevor Bowles added: “Given that they were in Harrow Lane at that time of night, I think that there is a very good chance that they were local.
“It is important to say at this stage, we will not link inquiries unless there is solid and compelling evidence to do so. You always keep an open mind as to whether that is a possibility.”
Chief Inspector Mark Ling, the district commander for Hastings Police, added: “There is nothing at this stage to suggest this is anything other than an isolated offence, so we are not issuing specific advice based on this incident.
“However, the personal safety tips we would always give to people who are out and about at night-time is to walk with friends and to stick to well-lit main roads whenever possible.”