Police Hunt Two Men Over Rape

Police investigating the rape of a 17-year-old girl in St Leonards on Friday night believe that the distinctive pair of men who attacked her may be well-known locally.

The first suspect is described as a black man of large build and about 5' 7". He is believed to be in his late-20s and had a London accent. He was wearing a grey hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms with white trainers.

The second man is described as white, around 5' 5" and of small build. He had a Southern accent and appeared slightly younger, probably in his early-20s. He was wearing 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.

"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, 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."