“PLEASE help find the man who raped me.”
That was the plea from a sex assault victim today – 10 years after she was brutally attacked.
On Tuesday, July 22, 2003, the 16-year-old girl was raped in Washington Old Village, when she was walking near the junction of the A1231 and Parkway. The attacker dragged her into nearby bushes and raped her.
During the horrific ordeal, which happened at 8.30pm, the man threatened the girl with a knife, leaving scratches on her throat.
Over the course of the past decade, the Echo has worked with Northumbria Police in a bid to find and bring the rapist to justice.
Today, the victim said: “Please help me find the man responsible for raping me so no one else has to go through what I am going through.”
Detectives have continued to carry out extensive inquiries into the rape. All available CCTV in Washington Village at the time has been looked at and house-to-house inquiries carried out.
DNA has allowed officers to eliminate more than 1,000 people from the inquiry.
An artist’s impression of the attacker was created after the victim provided a detailed description of the man and the clothes he was wearing. The image was circulated in the media and posters displayed in the area.
Superintendent Jim Napier, of Sunderland Area Command, said: “Ten years ago a man raped a 16-year-old girl and threatened her with a knife. He has never been caught, and the victim has had to live for the past 10 years knowing her attacker has never been brought to justice.
“We’re renewing our appeal to make sure he gets caught and faces the consequences of the attack, and give the victim the opportunity to move on from the ordeal.
“The man will know he is wanted by police, and our message to him is, despite it being 10 years since the attack, our inquiries will continue and new forensic advancements will mean we will find him.
“We want people to take a look at the image and, bearing in mind the man may look older, contact us if they think they know who he is or have information that could help us identify him.”
The rapist, who will now be aged around 50, is described as 6ft tall and of medium build. He was wearing a blue baseball cap, green cagoule or rain jacket, blue jeans and brown shoes.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.