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'No evidence 90-year-old was raped'

Police investigating an attack on a 90-year-old woman have said there is no forensic evidence that she was raped.

Tests were fast-tracked overnight by detectives working on the investigation and results showed that at this stage there is no forensic evidence to corroborate that an attack of a sexual nature took place, police said.

Specially-trained officers are continuing to work with the pensioner and offer her support after she told officers she had been dragged off the street and raped while on a trip to her local butcher's shop in Rochdale at around 6.45am on Tuesday.

Officers said the alleged sex attack would cause "revulsion" as they made a public appeal for information yesterday.

Today Superintendent Alistair Mallen, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "The lady in question stated she had been raped and she gave the same account when she was video interviewed.

"As people would expect we carried out forensic tests and these were fast-tracked overnight. The results now show that there is no forensic evidence of a rape taking place.

"However, we are continuing to investigate the full circumstances of what happened to her.

"Something has clearly happened to this lady so we would like to hear from anyone who saw anything.

"It is important to state that was a report made in good faith, by an elderly, vulnerable lady and, as such, people would always expect us to investigate thoroughly.

"When we receive a report of this nature we will always investigate to establish the full facts and, alongside this, we will do everything we can to support the victim.

"People may question why we took the decision to go public and, to that, I can say that we had a duty of care to both the complainant and to the wider public.

"When making these decisions we have to weigh up the need to inform the public with the need to reassure them that they are not in any danger.

"Every case is considered on its individual merits at that particular time and, in this case, it was felt the community needed to be made aware.

"The most important aspect to remember is that we will always investigate reports of sexual offences and we always encourage victims to speak to the police.

"We are continuing to appeal to anyone who may have seen this lady to help us piece together exactly what happened."

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