Teenagers in Londonderry have been urged to look out for each other until the “predator” who raped a 15-year-old girl is taken off the streets.
Police have mounted an investigation following the horrific attack on the teenager in the grounds of Foyle College on the Northland Road shortly after 11pm on Friday.
Despite her traumatic experience, the teenager managed to give a description of her attacker and told police he was in his late teens, about 5ft 9in tall, with a shaved head and had an English accent.
He had been wearing a dark shirt and tracksuit bottoms or jeans.
Police have appealed for information about the incident.
Deputy mayor of Derry, Kevin Campbell, said he was horrified by the weekend attack.
“It’s an absolutely tragic thing for the young girl and her family and I’m advising all teenagers, especially young girls, not to be leaving each other or to let their friends drift off on their own when they’re out,” he said.
“There is a predator out there and he needs to be caught and taken off our streets and he’s a danger to society.
“And I would appeal for young women to look out for each other and not to let friends go off alone.”
Helena Bracken, acting director of Nexus, the sexual abuse counselling service in Derry said rape was the “next thing down from murder”.
“It’s an absolutely horrific thing to happen to any individual, particularly a 15-year-old girl,” she said.
“I think that everybody is horrified and shocked and hoping that this person will be taken off our streets as soon as possible.
“I’m sure people, especially young women, will be particularly apprehensive now following this.
“We get caught up with sex offenders and their rights, but we have to be mindful that this girl’s life has been absolutely turned upside down.
“To think of the life that’s facing this young girl; if she gets the right kind of therapeutic intervention hopefully this will help lessen the psychological implications,” she said.
“I just hope she’s getting the support she needs from the people she trusts and that they are giving her support in a non-judgmental and non-critical way.
“I don’t think that people understand the repercussions of rape and that people really understand the dynamics of that,” she added.