Police believe late-night revellers could provide crucial clues in the hunt for city rapist

Police tape off Palmerston Park in Southampton.

Police tape off Palmerston Park in Southampton.

First published in News

DETECTIVES today said late-night revellers could hold the key to helping them find a rapist who struck in a city centre park.

As reported by the Daily Echo on Saturday, a 19-year-old woman was jumped from behind and pulled into bushes where she was then sexually assaulted.

Officers leading the hunt for her attacker said multiple lines of enquiry were under way throughout the weekend, which included scouring hours of footage from CCTV cameras close to Palmerston Park where the assault took place in the early hours of Friday morning.

Now they are focused on speaking to other partygoers who were out in Southampton or who may have walked home through the parks in the early hours.

Detective Inspector Jim Park, leading the probe, said in particular he was keen to hear from people who had been inside or in the vicinity of Yates’s in Above Bar Street, where the victim had been with friends that evening.

Around 1am they left the bar and sat outside on a bench before the young woman left her friends and went into the park alone.

A man then pounced from behind, put his hand over the woman’s mouth and pulled her into the undergrowth where she told police she was raped.

She managed to raise the alarm with paramedics in a nearby ambulance after returning to her friends.

Det Insp Park told the Daily Echo: “We need to piece together what happened over a fairly short period of time, between 1am and 2am on Friday.

“Yates’s was certainly busy that night – were you there or did you see anything unusual? Did you leave the city centre and walk through the park, did you notice any movement in the bushes?”

Det Insp Park added: “No matter how minor you think the information might be, I would urge you to come forward and speak with us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Southampton’s area CID team on 101.

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