Man wanted over Crawley rape ‘befriended’ victim

Cycle way and footpath between Haslett Avenue East and Sutherland House (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-151946008
Cycle way and footpath between Haslett Avenue East and Sutherland House (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-151946008

Detectives investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman said her attacker befriended her moments before her ordeal.

A police spokesman said the victim was raped on a cycle path off Haslett Avenue East as she was walking home at around 11pm on Saturday (May 9).

Detective Inspector Paddy Mayers said: “We believe the man befriended her briefly and then persuaded her to step off the main road onto the cyclepath and it was here that he raped her.

“We do not know which direction he was going in before he met the victim or where he went to after the attack but drivers may have seen him walking along Haslett Avenue East or talking to the woman.

“A number of people have contacted us but we still need more help. If you have any information at all, please contact us.”

Police have released a description of the attacker. The man has been described as ‘taller than five foot five inches’ with short dark hair and dark clothing.

Officers investigating the rape cordoned off the area on Sunday.

Crime scene investigators examined the cycle path, between Sutherland House and the BMW dealership, for any evidence that could identify the attacker.

Anyone information on: email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.