Sexual offences remain ‘rare’ in Horsham despite two reports of women being raped in the town in the last month, the local police chief has insisted.
A 21-year-old was raped in Horsham Park in the early hours of Saturday morning (August 8), while a woman described as ‘vulnerable’ was raped behind the Sainsbury’s store in Worthing Road weeks earlier, on July 12.
Chief inspector Howard Hodges, the Horsham district commander, told the County Times there is ‘no link’ between the two incidents and explained the circumstances differ.
He said: “Serious sexual offences such as these are rare and remain so in Horsham.
“I appreciate they will be in sharp focus due to the proximity between these two that have been reported, but I am satisfied there is no link between the two.
“The victim for the offence in July was someone who was clearly vulnerable.
“In the circumstances in relation to the latter offence, there is nothing to suggest someone has preyed on the victim for their vulnerability. The circumstances are very different.”
Officers are hunting a man described as white, aged no more than 22-23, 5’ 10”-5’ 11”, of average build with short dark hair and wearing a white t-shirt, following the rape in Horsham Park.
CI Hodges stressed the incident will be investigated ‘thoroughly’.
He said: “Sexual offences committed by strangers are incredibly rare.
“We recognise when they do occur these can have a significant impact on the local community.
“We will always comprehensively investigate them, supporting the victims and identifying those responsible at the earliest opportunity.”
The woman called police to report the rape at around 3.20am. When she was found, she was with two male friends who she had contacted for assistance at around 2.40am.
CI Hodges added: “As always I would ask anybody who is out and about in the early hours enjoying the nighttime economy to be aware of their surroundings and to take sensible precaution to be sure they are with their friends and can get home safely.”
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