Hunt continues for Sunderland street rapist

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A RAPIST carried out a horrific sex assault on a woman in a city centre street.

Detectives are hunting the attacker after the 38-year-old victim was raped as she walked along Fawcett Street, near Athenaeum Street in Sunderland.

The rape is alleged to have happened between 3.45am and 6.30am on Saturday, with the woman contacting police yesterday.

When interviewed by detectives, she was able to give a description of her attacker.

He is described as a white male, around 6ft tall, in his 30s, of medium build and wearing a “warm jacket”.

Workers and visitors to the city centre city centre today spoke of their shock at the attack, which police believe may have taken place shortly after a brawl broke out nearby.

Grandmother-of-two Sandra Owen, 62, from Hendon, who was out shopping with grandson Theo, four, said: “It’s absolutely awful. I hope they catch him and that she’s alright.”

A 24-year-old woman working at an estate agents, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s terrible that something like this has happened, but there’s CCTV all round here, so hopefully they’ll catch him.”

A 48-year-old Northern Rail worker said he had been walking through Sunderland city centre on Sunday morning.

He said: “It’s shocking. Poor lass.”

Northumbria Police has stepped up patrols in the area and are appealing for anyone who may have any information to contact them.

Superintendent Alan Veitch said: “We understand the concern incidents like this cause to our communities and would like to reassure people we are carrying out inquiries in order to find the man responsible.

“The victim remembers seeing a disturbance in the city shortly before the rape happened and we’d urge anyone who remembers seeing this, or was involved, to contact us, as they may be able to help us identify the man responsible.”

Any witnesses should ring police on 101, ext 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @janethejourno