‘Distinctive pair of men’ wanted after Hailsham girl raped

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TWO MEN wanted by police after a teenage girl from Hailsham was raped were a ‘distinctive pair’ who could live locally, according to Sussex Police.

A fresh appeal for witnesses has been issued by detectives after the 17-year-old girl was attacked in playing fields not far from Harrow Lane and The Ridge in St Leonards at 11pm on Friday night, January 14.

Two men approached the girl and one of them punched her - knocking her to the ground. Then he held the victim while the other man raped her.

The first suspect was a large black man, around 5ft, 7in tall, in his late 20s and with a London accent. He wore a grey hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms with white trainers. The second man was described as a small white man, around 5ft, 5in tall with a Southern accent. He seemed to be slightly younger, in his early-20s. He wore a black hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms with white trainers.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles from Sussex Police Major Crime Branch is leading the enquiry.

He said: “The black offender is the one who attacked and raped the girl after the white man had punched her to the ground and then restrained her while the rape took place. “We have taken a number of forensic samples from the victim and from the scene of the attack and are working closely with our scientific colleagues in order to resolve this quite distressing crime. “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.”

Det Chief Insp Bowles said such attacks were a great concern to everyone living in the local community.

He added: “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, both to the investigation team and to policing locally in the area, into catching these two men. “I am appealing for anyone who knows who these two men might be. I would ask anyone who knows of a pair of young men of this description who spend time together to contact 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Marlow.

“Your call will be treated confidentially, but if you wish, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”