Police seek key witnesses to Eastbourne sex attack

Sussex Police
Sussex Police

Officers investigating the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in Eastbourne want to trace two witnesses who may have key information about the attack.

Police say the first witness was a tall man, accompanied by a young boy in pyjamas and walking a puppy, whom the girl spoke to shortly before another man attacked her.

The girl was walking along Ringwood Road at around 9.30pm on Sunday, May 1. She was approached by a man in a car who suggested she get into the vehicle for a lift home.

She refused and on seeing the tall man emerge from a footpath nearby asked him for help. He advised her not to get into the car and to phone police before continuing on his way.

Meanwhile, the suspect parked his car and continued to pester the girl before attempting to embrace and fondle her. She managed to break free and run home.

Police also want to trace a woman who may have spoken to the suspect driver in the early hours of the following day, Bank Holiday Monday, May 2. It is believed that at around 4am he talked to her after stopping his car in South Street, Eastbourne.

She is described as a white woman in her late teens or early 20s, 5ft 5ins tall and slim with long dark hair. She was wearing a black top or jacket, and quite distinctive white ‘shiny’ trousers with black patches on them. She was also carrying a large black handbag.

Detective Constable Dan Thomson, of East Sussex CID, said, “House-to-house enquiries have failed to identify the man from whom the girl sought help but I would like to trace him as a potential witness. The boy he was with was around eight-years-old and was wearing pyjamas. They had a young dog with them.

“I’m also keen to trace the young lady. It’s not known whether or not she lives in South Street. She may not have thought that anything about her exchange with the suspect was unusual but she may still be a key witness. I’d encourage her, or anyone who recognises her description, to get in touch.”

Anyone able to help is asked to email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or phone 101, quoting serial 1510 of 01/05. Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 (www.crimestoppers-uk.org)

A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and bailed until June 24 pending further enquiries.

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