Sense of shock in 'quiet' community following Easter Sunday rape

Police are investigating after a woman in her late teens was raped in Downham Market

Police are investigating after a woman in her late teens was raped in Downham Market - Credit: Archant

People in a quiet corner of Downham Market are in a state of shock after a teenager was raped on Easter Sunday. 

The woman, aged in her late teens, was attacked at some point between 3am and 8am on April 4 in the area of Rouse's Lane. 

Police are looking for witnesses who were in the area of Rouse's Lane, in Downham Market, on Easter Sunday 

Police are looking for witnesses who were in the area of Rouse's Lane, in Downham Market, on Easter Sunday - Credit: Archant

Investigating officers say they are looking for an unknown suspect, believed to be aged in his 20s or 30s. 

It comes just two months after a similarly serious assault in Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham, although police do not think the incidents are linked. 

As news of the rape in Downham was made public, residents who live in the area - on the south-east side of town - were left reeling. 

Police are looking for witnesses who were in the area of Rouse's Lane, in Downham Market, on Easter Sunday 

Police are looking for witnesses who were in the area of Rouse's Lane, in Downham Market, on Easter Sunday - Credit: Archant

"There's never been any issues round here," said one homeowner, who lives on Rouse's Lane. "That's why we've stayed here."

One man on the same road expressed shock upon hearing of the attack, saying there had barely been any activity late at night given the current closure of pubs and restaurants.

And another man, who lives on nearby Howdale Rise, added that the whole town was "generally quiet".

People in Downham Market including Chris Clark, 58, were shocked to hear a teenage woman had been raped in the area

People in Downham Market including Chris Clark, 58, were shocked to hear a teenage woman had been raped in the area - Credit: Archant

Most Read

Meanwhile, Chris Clark, who has been based in Downham for more than 20 years and in west Norfolk all his life, argued it was "definitely" a safe place to live. 

"You occasionally hear of burglaries and thefts, and little scraps when the pubs are open, but nothing like this," said the 58-year-old, who lives on Bexwell Road.

"You've got to keep your wits about you at night time, but no more than anywhere else."

Police are investigating after a woman in her late teens was raped in Downham Market

Police are investigating after a woman in her late teens was raped in Downham Market - Credit: Archant

Earlier on Thursday, police moved to reassure people in the area regarding their safety.

Detective Inspector Richard Weller said: "We understand people will be very concerned at the seriousness of this report.

"We will be carrying out extra patrols in the area to offer support and advice to our local communities."

Police are looking for witnesses who were in the area of Stonecross Road, in Downham Market, on Easter Sunday 

Police are looking for witnesses who were in the area of Stonecross Road, in Downham Market, on Easter Sunday - Credit: Archant

Investigators are appealing for witnesses and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of Rouse's Lane and Stonecross Road between 3 and 8am on Easter Sunday. 

Officers would also like to hear from those who may have dashcam or CCTV footage from the area at the time.

Anyone with information should contact Swaffham CID by calling 101, quoting ‘Operation Loddington’.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter