Woman raped in Belfast street at 4am
Published 27/05/2013 | 00:00
A woman in her 40s was raped in an early morning attack in a Belfast street.
Police are investigating the sexual assault which took place between 4am and 4.30am in the east of the city yesterday.
The victim was attacked near the Holywood Arches on the Upper Newtownards Road.
East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton, a member of the Policing Board, called on the local community to help police identify whoever was responsible.
"This attack in the early hours of Sunday morning is very worrying and will be of great concern to the public in east Belfast," he said.
"The PSNI detective investigating the attack has been describing it as a serious sexual assault.
"This type of violent crime is deplorable and must carry the strongest possible condemnation.
"Those who carry out such attacks on women are dangerous and if they get away with it they will without doubt attack another vulnerable woman."
"The PSNI needs the help of the entire community to put behind bars the violent thug or thugs who carried out this sickening crime," he added.
UUP MLA Michael Copeland said he was deeply shocked by the attack and warned that anyone out on their own late at night must take their personal safety very seriously.
"This highlights the dangers of anybody being out alone in the early hours of the morning," he said.
"This has taken place within a couple of hundred yards of a police station and anybody who knows anything must bring that to the police." Alliance East Belfast MLA Judith Cochrane said: "I hope she will be able to recover from such a traumatic and harrowing incident."
A PSNI spokeswoman said: "Police are working to establish the details of this incident and are asking anyone who may have been in the Upper Newtownards Road area and who may have seen the female or who saw anything suspicious to contact them immediately."
Anyone with information has been asked to contact detectives at the Rape Crime Unit or confidentially on Crimestoppers.