Leeds rape prowler gang hunted

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A GANG of prowlers who grabbed and raped a student in the heart of Leeds is today being hunted.

Police revealed the woman was cornered and attacked after she left a nightclub.

SEARCH: Police forensics officers at the bus stop on Vicar Lane, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

SEARCH: Police forensics officers at the bus stop on Vicar Lane, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

Today police appealed to women planning a night out in Leeds to keep with friends, to get taxis and “look after each other”.

At least four men are being hunted after the attack on the 22-year-old in a doorway in the Fish Street cut-through in Leeds.

The men are thought to have harassed other lone women in the hours leading up to the rape. Detectives have appealed for those women or anyone with information to come forward. They also released this CCTV image of a man they wish to trace in connection with the attack.

The attack is being investigated as a “very, very worrying stranger attack” by the West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team and the victim is so traumatised she is refusing to allow her parents who live elsewhere to be told of her ordeal.

Do you recognise this man?

Do you recognise this man?

She had gone out with friends during the evening to the Hi-Fi night club on Central Road off Boar Lane and had spent about two hours in the club before leaving alone.

After leaving the club she walked around and was approached by the gang of about four men who surrounded her and would not let her get away. They made sexually suggestive remarks towards her which she ignored and manged to walk on and turn right twice to reach Vicar Lane to get a taxi home.

She stopped near to a bus shelter in Vicar Lane at the entrance to Fish Street but again was surrounded by the men and anxious to escape their attentions the student entered Fish Street, which is a popular cut-through even in the early hours.

But some of the group followed her into Fish Street where she was attacked and raped. After her attackers walked off, a passer-by found the distressed young woman and raised the alarm.

Three days after the sickening assault Fish Street in the early hours of Monday this week, which connects King Edward Street, Vicar Lane and Kirkgate, it was reopened to pedestrians, but the bus shelter on Vicar Lane was still being examined yesterday by forensic scientists.

Det Supt Paul Taylor said one of the “concerning and really worrying” features of the incident was that the group of men involved are believed to have harassed at least one other woman in the city centre about midnight and possibly other women had been pestered by them. He urged that woman or any others to come forward immediately.

”If you are one of those women I urge you to contact the investigation team now. I appeal to the man in the CCTV picture to come forward and speak to us as soon as possible as we believe he may have vital information. There were a number of males involved in this incident, some of which we believe will have been involved to a lesser extent than others. I would encourage those men who may have been involved in the initial incident but not the sex assault to come forward and give us their side immediately. Some may not have thought matters were going to go as far as they did. Similarly if you were in Hi Fi on Sunday and recognise the man in the CCTV picture to contact HMET via 0845 6060606 or text messages to 07786200805, starting messages with the word “Leeds”.

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