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Woman raped in Gloucester alleyway hours after protest walk

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

HORRIFYING: The scene yesterday in London Road, Gloucester.

HOURS after a protest walk against sex attacks took place in Gloucester, a woman was raped in an alleyway.

The 30-year-old, from Gloucester, was assaulted near the railway bridge over London Road.

Police were called out at 1.55am yesterday and launched a search for her attacker.

They later arrested a man at Asda in Bruton Way on suspicion of rape.

The alleyway was cordoned off yesterday while forensic investigations took place.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Bean said: "I know the public will be alarmed and I just hope people will be reassured by our swift response and action.

"We are now conducting a thorough forensic examination of the scene and giving the victim as much support as possible.

"Incidents like this are very rare but we would of course continue to urge people to be aware of their personal safety at all times."

Police are also still investigating a sexual assault on a 19-year-old in Oxstalls Lane, Longlevens two weeks ago. No one has been arrested.

Det Insp Bean said the two incidents were not linked.

Much earlier that night, Gloucester city councillor Kate Haigh (L, Matson) led a protest march through the gate streets in a bid to raise awareness of violence against women.

The aim of the march, called the Slutwalk and part of a national movement, was to show that men and women, regardless of what they wear, have the right to walk the streets without fear.

Mrs Haigh, responding to the attack, said: "These events highlight what an important issue it is. We need to make sure victims are safe from rape."

She was joined on the walk by about 20 men and woman, some of whom had been attacked themselves.

A 51-year-old city centre resident said she was raped aged 22 as she left work at a bar.

She said: "It still affects me 30 years on. Women should be able to wear what they want, when they want."

Transvestite Kay Superstar was attacked on a night out in Cheltenham in 2007.

He said: "I was wearing heels and a corset when a group of lager-drinking lads attacked me. They threw a brick at my corset but it had so many bones it the brick bounced off.

"They must have followed me home because a brick was thrown through my neighbour's window. They must have got the wrong house.

"It's obviously knocked my confidence when I go out."

Barbara from Gloucester, said: "I have been campaigning on this issue for 28 years now.

"We still have to remember that in the world one in three girls and one in seven boys will be abused by the time they reach 16."

A 37-year-old man, from Broadheath in Cheshire, was arrested on suspicion of rape in connection with the London Road incident and is in police custody. Any witnesses should call 101, quoting incident 26 of February 15.

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