Belfast Telegraph

Women urged to be vigilant after third rape in Derry

By Donna Deeney

Three women have reportedly been raped in Londonderry in as many months, sparking calls for women not to walk home unaccompanied, particularly after a night out.

The last attack took place in the Strand Road area of the city in the early hours of Thursday.

It is believed that sometime between 1.30am and 1.45am a young woman was dragged into an alley and assaulted by an unknown male.

He is described as being 6ft 3in to 6ft 4in tall, of stocky build, with long brown hair and spoke with a Donegal accent.

Leading the investigation is Superintendent Brian Hanna who said the Rape Crime Unit is following specific lines of inquiry in this case and rejected criticism of the PSNI clearance rate.

He said: “We are actually improving our clearance rate, which is currently at 25% — up 7% from last year.”

He also advised both men and women to be responsible, particularly on a night out.

He added: “We would say to women, do not go home alone and do not go to a stranger's house when you are drunk.

“Plan to go home with friends, stay with your friends and take a taxi home.

“To men, our message is you have a clear responsibility to get consent from your partner before sex and make sure she has the capability to give that consent.”

Derry City councillor Ann Donnelly has urged people, particularly young women, to look after their friends on nights out.

She said: “It is shocking that acts like this are taking place on the streets of Derry and I join in the calls for anyone with information about this latest attack to come forward.

“I would also strongly urge people, especially young women, to look after their friends when out for the evening and make sure that wherever possible, they are not left vulnerable to sickening attacks such as this one.

“My thoughts are with the victim and I hope that the individual who carried it out is brought to justice.”

On November 19, a teenage girl was raped shortly after 3am in the Temple Grove area.

Police released details of the man they believe was responsible for this attack.

He is thought to have been wearing a dark trench coat and lace-up boots.

That attack came less than three weeks after a man wearing a ‘Scream' mask with blood on the face sexually assaulted the girl in the area of Edenmore Street and Northland Road as she made her way home after Halloween celebrations.

Helena Bracken, from sex abuse charity the Nexus Institute in Clarendon Street, echoed councillor Donnelly’s sentiments that young people had to “look out for each other”.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact police.

Belfast Telegraph

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