'It's heartbreaking' - Thetford councillors in shock after woman raped

Thetford's Castle Hill and Park. Picture: Sonya Duncan

A woman in her 30s has been raped in Castle Park in Thetford. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2009

Thetford community leaders have expressed their shock and "heartbreak" after a woman was raped in a park in the centre of the town.

The woman, aged in her 30s, was attacked in Castle Park sometime between 11pm on Sunday, May 8 and 1am on Monday.

Police are investigating the incident and have increased their patrols in the area. Yesterday, a cordon was in place at the location while enquiries were ongoing.

Thetford's councillors have since spoken of their shock and concern for the victim, with mayor Jane James calling the incident "abhorrent".

She added: "I'm absolutely heartbroken for the poor woman.

Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford East, Jane James.

Mayor Jane James said she has been left heartbroken by the news. - Credit: Emily Thomson

"Everyone should be able to walk around the town in absolute safety. 

"That sort of violence and attack against women should never happen and is absolutely abhorrent."

She added on the whole Thetford was a "relatively quiet and safe place" and hoped the perpetrator was found quickly.

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"Something like this just shocks us all to the core", she said.

"My thoughts are with the survivor."

Carla Barreto said the incident was "horrid and "worrying", and suggested that parts of the park which are dark or secluded might benefit from more lighting or surveillance, to "avoid further incidents and assaults of this nature".

Carla Barreto, from Thetford, has seen her plans to travel to Portugal plunged into doubt

Thetford town councillor, Carla Barreto hoped people will be reassured by increased patrols. - Credit: Carla Barreto

She said: "It's sad that this has happened in the heart of our community, particularly in a park that is so vibrant, where families and children spend time in the open doors."

Terry Jermy, who walks past the area often, said the park is a "very visible" and a central place in town, and asked the community to come forward with information.

Terry Jermy who is chair of the board at Charles Burrell Centre and a town, district, and county cou

Terry Jermy who is chair of the board at Charles Burrell Centre and a town, district, and county councillor. Picture: Conor Matchett - Credit: Archant

He said: "I was shocked. I just felt for the individual concerned. It must be an absolutely awful situation.

"It's quite dark at that time of night on Castle Park, but it is right in the middle of town so I hope someone saw or heard something that could help."

And Kenneth Parker, a town councillor, said: "I'm absolutely shocked. It's unbelievable really that this should happen in this town."

Detectives are appealing for help. Those with information are being urged to contact Swaffham CID on 101 quoting crime reference 36/34098/22.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers 100pc anonymously on 0800 555 111.