Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Belfast city centre rape attack horror: woman sexually assaulted near Royal Avenue

A CCTV camera covering the alley where a young woman was raped

Police have launched an investigation after a woman was raped in Belfast city centre in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A 21-year-old woman was walking along an alleyway off Royal Avenue, near CastleCourt shopping centre, when she was approached from behind by a man who attacked and sexually assaulted her.

Police said the suspect is described as black, aged in his mid-30s, approximately 5ft 6ins tall, of thin build and was wearing navy jeans and a checked shirt.

Sinn Fein MLA for South Belfast Alex Maskey described it as a shocking attack and called for more safety measures to be put in place in the area.

"This is shocking news to learn that we have a victim of a rape crime," he said.

"I can't think how she will cope with this and I hope the culprit is arrested. I would expect there to be CCTV images in that particular area given the number of recent incidents, including the two racist attacks in the same area over the last couple of weeks.

"I would call on anyone who has information to pass it on. Clearly, safety in Belfast city centre has to be looked at as everyone should feel safe in a busy place.

"On the one hand we have had racist attacks, and on the other attacks such as this rape.

"It raises some questions surrounding safety for members of the public in that part of the city centre. People should expect there to be measures in place and police presence to help prevent attacks like these from happening."

The incident happened close to where a man was subjected to a racist attack last week.

The brazen attack happened in broad daylight last Saturday morning when an Asian man in his early 20s was punched in the face. He was attacked as he walked along Fountain Street at around 10am by a man and woman thought to be in their mid-30s.

The attack came just three days after Turkish trader Musa Gulusen was left with a broken wrist after two men punched and kicked him to the ground as he worked at his stall in Royal Avenue.

Mr Gulusen said that he had experienced racial abuse every single day of the 20 years he had been here.

Detectives have appealed for anyone who witnessed the sexual assault or who saw the woman in the area around the time to contact them.

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