The victim of an unsolved rape case is appealing for information 20 years after the attack

The victim of an unsolved rape case is appealing to members of the public for help in finding her attacker, 20 years after the incident happened.

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On July 22, 2003, the then 16-year-old victim reported to Northumbria Police that she was dragged into the bushes near the junction of the A1231 and Parkway, in Washington, by an unknown man.

She was walking along a footpath in between Village Lane and Boston Avenue when she was attacked at around 8.30pm.

During the ordeal, she was threatened with a knife and was told: “Do as I say or I will kill you.”

Following the sustained attack, the suspect is then reported to have left the scene in a mahogany-coloured car and the victim made her way home disorientated.

An artist’s impression of the suspect. Photo: Northumbria Police.An artist’s impression of the suspect. Photo: Northumbria Police.
An artist’s impression of the suspect. Photo: Northumbria Police.

After her family contacted Northumbria Police, a large-scale operation was launched to identify the attacker with detectives conducting more than 500 house-to-house inquiries, taking more than 350 statements and circulating an artist’s impression of the suspect.

Despite a number of public appeals for information, no-one has been brought to justice for the attack.

Twenty years on since the incident, the victim, who is entitled to life-long anonymity and should not be identified, has made a direct plea to the public.

She said: “I continue to live everyday knowing the man who brutally attacked me and has created so much trauma, is still out there free.

“I wake every day and pray that an offender will be caught, so that I can feel that someone has been made accountable for the horrendous impact this has had on my life.

“Please help me to find this man, who has not yet paid for his actions 20 years on. I need this case kept alive, so he knows this is not forgotten. Someone out there must know something and if you do, please come forward to help me to find justice.

“Everywhere I go and everything I do, I am looking over my shoulder and will continue to, until the day he is found.”

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Detective Superintendent Alan Cairns, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, is encouraging anyone who may have information to come forward.

He commented: “I want to recognise the immense and continuous courage the victim has shown throughout this time and we want to be able to bring her the justice she deserves.

“Twenty years on from the attack, we are again appealing to the public to come forward if you have any information at all in relation to this case.

“While we recognise a number of years have now past, someone could still hold the key in helping bring justice.

“No matter how small or insignificant you feel what you know may be, we would urge you to come forward – it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Anyone with information is asked to ring 101 or visit the ‘Tell us Something’ section of the Northumbria Police website, quoting log NP-20230721-0267.