RAPE UPDATE: Police and councils looking at making Crawley cycle path safer

Cycle way and footpath between Haslett Avenue East and Sutherland House (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-151905008
Cycle way and footpath between Haslett Avenue East and Sutherland House (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151105-151905008

Police investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman in Crawley have said they are working with the borough and county councils to look at making the area safer.

People have raised concerns about the cycle path off Haslett Avenue East, Three Bridges, where the woman was attacked at around 11pm on Saturday (May 9).

Readers have called on the council to cut trees back and improve lighting and CCTV in the path.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “In Crawley we are working with partners to see if there are additional measures that could be taken in and around the area that would not only make people feel safer when they are out but could deter offenders from committing a range of crimes.

“We have a range of partners we work with, including in this instance Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council.”

The alleyway meets the main road between Sutherland House and the BMW dealership.

A borough council spokesman said the path, its bushes and street lighting were owned by West Sussex County Council.

A county council spokesman said: “We are working with all our partners, including police colleagues and borough council colleagues, to constantly look at what can be done to make our towns safer.

“We did update the street lights in this area in 2013 and we keep everything under constant review.”

Police have appealed for CCTV footage of the victim or attacker taken in Haslett Avenue East or Worth Road around the time of the attack.

The woman was found staggering along Haslett Avenue East by a member of the public shortly before 11.30pm after she was raped on a path that meets the main road between Sutherland House and the BMW dealership.

Detectives are trawling through CCTV footage to see if it captures the victim or her attacker in the moments before she was raped.

Some of the footage was recorded at Three Bridges station and officers are keen to speak to anyone who was at or near the railway station on Saturday evening.

They are also asking residents and businesses in Haslett Avenue East or Worth Road who have CCTV systems to see if they have any footage.

The owners of cameras in nearby roads that cover Haslett Avenue East or Worth Road are also asked to check what they recorded on Saturday evening.

Detective Inspector Paddy Mayers said: “I’m grateful to those people who have contacted us but I’m sure there are many more who will have passed the victim in Haslett Avenue East or Worth Road and could have seen her.

“They may have also seen the attacker. If you were driving in the area at about 11pm on Saturday and saw anything at all, please contact us.

“You might think what you can tell us is of little importance but it could prove vital to our investigation.”

Anyone with any information is asked to email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Bowler, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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