Lancaster nightclub rape: Detectives release e-fit of suspect

Detectives released this e-fit of the man they want to speak to about the rape of a student in Lancaster's Sugarhouse club.
Detectives released this e-fit of the man they want to speak to about the rape of a student in Lancaster's Sugarhouse club.

Detectives investigating the rape of an 18-year-old student in a Lancaster nightclub have released an e-fit of a man they want to speak to.

Lancashire Police said the victim helped officers compile the image, which they released publicly this morning.

They are continuing their inquiries after the woman was attacked in the Sugarhouse, in Sugar House Alley, during a freshers’ night at around 12.30am on October 1.

She had only been in the city for three days after arriving from Greater Manchester to study at Lancaster University.

She was leaving a toilet cubicle in the venue when her attacker pushed her back inside and raped her.

The woman managed to fend off the man before running from the toilets to raise the alarm.

She described her attacker as white, about 6ft tall with blond hair and aged between 18 and 30-years-old.

He was wearing a light-coloured, short-sleeved top with no collar, but he may also have been wearing a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and darker trousers, police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gilbert, of Lancashire Police, said: “We have been working very closely throughout with the victim in this case and she has helped us compile this image of a man we want to speak to.

“I’ve previously asked every man in the club that night to reflect on their evening, and I would like to repeat that appeal.

“If you think it is possible you were involved in this incident, but believe you have a different version of events, then please come forward.

“You might not think you match the description which has been circulated, but if you can relate to various aspects of what has been said about that evening then please contact us so that we can talk about it.

“I am appealing for you to come forward so that you can give your version of what happened that night.”

Officers are trying to trace a man captured on CCTV heading towards the ladies’ toilets along with other potential witnesses, including a woman who appeared to be coming out of the ladies’ toilets around the time of the assault.

And they are also still trying to speak with a second or third-year female student - believed to be studying law at Lancaster University - who possibly spoke with the victim in the ladies’ toilets.

Detective Chief Inspector Gilbert added: “I want people to think back to that night five weeks ago – it would have been the night of Monday 30 September, and was known locally as ‘The Big Night Out’, just one of the freshers’ events being held that week.

“It was open to County, Longsdale and Graduate students, but I cannot guarantee that the wider public did not have access to the Sugarhouse so my appeal goes out to anyone who was out that night.

“The offence happened between 12.30am and 12.45am on Tuesday 1. If you were in The Sugarhouse at that time, did anyone in your group leave and say they were going to the toilet?

“Was there anyone in your group matching the description of the man we want to trace or did anyone matching the description leave the club unexpectedly? Do you know of anyone who had sex in the club that night or have you heard anyone bragging?

“If you can help with these questions or have any information then please contact us.

“We are continuing to support the young woman who has suffered a particularly distressing ordeal and once again I would like to reassure people that sexual assaults of this nature are rare.”

Anybody with any information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting the log number 0028 of 1 October.

People can also give information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.