A woman in her 20s was raped by a stranger after being approached on a bench in Burgess Park, South London, police have said. The rape occurred on Friday 26 May between 9.30am and 10.15am, after the man had asked the victim personal questions and made sexual comments towards her. When the woman tried to flee, the man followed her and eventually assaulted her in the nearby Coburgh Nature Reserve, telling her he had a knife.
The man has been described as black, in his late 20s to early 30s with a scar under his left eye, dark eyes, bushy eyebrows and a larger build. He was wearing a black durag type cap/hat and black jogging bottoms with no visible logo and zips on the pockets.
The incident has prompted a police investigation and a public appeal for witnesses. Detective Constable Timea Fazekas urged anyone with relevant information to come forward. She also praised the victim for her bravery and said she was receiving support from officers trained to deal with sexual offenses. Fazekas stated that the case was a “truly horrific incident” and urged the public to report anything they may have seen in the area on the day of the attack.
The event is one of a number of reported sexual crimes in the UK this year, which has generated significant public concern. A recent National Crime Agency report estimated that in 2017, there were 80,000 sexual offenses in England and Wales alone.
The government has pledged to increase funding for the provision of rape crisis centers and to make provision for spending on such canters more transparent. In addition, a new national stalking helpline was launched in April 2017, providing support for victims of this increasingly reported crime.