Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Car driver sought after woman raped in Southampton

CCTV of the car being sought Image copyright Police
Image caption Police think the car occupants may have seen the attacker leave the scene

Police hunting for a man who raped a woman in Southampton as she returned from work want to trace the driver of a dark saloon car as a potential witness.

The 29-year-old woman was attacked shortly after 02:15 BST on Wednesday and forced to a wooded area on the corner of Merryoak Road in Bitterne.

She had been on her way back to her car in Cypress Avenue.

Police think the occupants of a car seen driving past may have seen the attacker leaving the area.

The victim was also threatened with a weapon, although she did not see one, police said.

Couple arguing

Officers have been examining CCTV and have been able to pinpoint the time of the attack to a nine-minute window between 02:16 and 02:25.

Shortly after this time, the car can be seen driving past the scene.

Image copyright Police
Image caption The driver may have seen something but does not know it is relevant, police said

Det Insp Jim Park said: "We do not believe that these people have anything to do with the attack, but they may have seen the offender making off from the scene."

Police also want to talk to a man and woman seen nearby at about 02:30 who were said to be having a heated discussion.

Det Insp Park added: "We are very keen to speak to the occupants of the car and the couple stood in Merryoak Road shortly after the incident.

"It's likely these people were unaware that a serious crime was being committed at the time.

"Neither of these people should be concerned about coming forward but I would urge them to make contact as soon as possible as they may have the vital piece of information that we need to identify a suspect."

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