Belfast Telegraph

Three men arrested on suspicion of rape after attack in Newtownards

Londonderry Park in Newtownards where the attack took place
Londonderry Park in Newtownards where the attack took place
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Three men have been arrested after a teenager was raped in a Co Down park.

It is understood the victim of yesterday morning's attack, which happened in Londonderry Park in Newtownards, is aged 17 and that more arrests are possible.

Detectives from the PSNI's Public Protection Branch are continuing to investigate after the girl reported suffering "a serious sexual assault" at 6.25am.

She told police that a number of men carried out the attack.

Last night three males, aged 28, 19 and 18, remained in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of rape.

Alliance councillor Nick Mathison expressed disgust following the attack, which he said had repulsed the entire community.

"I am shocked and appalled by this incident and my thoughts are with the victim at this difficult time," he said.

"Attacks such as these send shockwaves through the local community.

"It is disturbing such an incident could take place in our town. We must ensure the streets are safe for all."

Mr Mathison urged anyone with information to contact the police.

DUP councillor Naomi Armstrong-Cotter said everyone's thoughts are with the young victim. "My heart absolutely aches for this girl," she said.

"I am sincerely praying that she will heal from the physical and emotional scars this attack will inevitably leave behind - something like this can ruin a life."

Mrs Armstrong-Cotter said she has no doubt police are conducting their investigation with the utmost seriousness and appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

"Whatever you know might just be a piece of the jigsaw needed by police," she said.

"Please tell them what you know."

Detective Sergeant Lennon issued an appeal for anyone who was in the vicinity of Londonderry Park or Portaferry Road early yesterday morning to contact detectives in Newtownards on 101, quoting reference 554 15/09/19.

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