Elveden sex attack good Samaritan tells of 'dreadful shame' in men

Tony Gearing was one of the first on the scene after the Elveden sex attack

Tony Gearing was one of the first on the scene after the Elveden sex attack - Credit: SONYA DUNCAN/SARAH LUCY BROWN

A good Samaritan who stopped to help the victim of a sex attack in Elveden this week said he felt "dreadful shame" as a man when he realised what had happened.

Tony Gearing was the second passer-by who stopped at the scene of the attack on the Old A11 in Elveden on the morning of Tuesday, November 9.

Tony Gearing MBE, who has spoken out about his experience of being one of the passersby to find the

Tony Gearing MBE, who has spoken out about his experience of being one of the passersby to find the victim of the Elveden sex attack. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He, along with two others, stayed with the unconscious young woman while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. Mr Gearing knelt next to the victim and held her hand while speaking to her in an attempt to wake her.

Mr Gearing, who lives in Stradishall, said at first he was not sure what had happened to the woman and thought she may have had some form of seizure or been struck by a passing vehicle.

But when she woke and told him she had been the victim of a sex attack, he said he was hit by an immense feeling of shame.

"I felt dreadful shame for my sex," he said. "As a man, I felt ashamed of what another man had done to this young woman.

"I have never knowingly been up close to the victim of a sexual crime in my 62 years.

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"This is just so wrong. How can any man think they had the right to assault a woman in an attempt to have sex?"

The scene of the attempted sexual assault in Elveden

The scene of the attempted sexual assault in Elveden - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Mr Gearing said he did not want to be thought of as a hero for stopping to help.

He said: "I just did what anybody who saw someone lying by the road should do.

"I'm sure if you had the seconds I did to make an assessment, the vast majority of us would stop — so I'm not a hero.

"I just parked up, went to see what the problem was, helped to call the emergency services and then gave comfort to the victim while we waited for about half-an-hour.”

Mr Gearing said he was speaking out to keep the crime in the public eye. "Someone must have met the attacker and thought his behaviour is not right. If you have your suspicions, please tell the police."

Detectives from Suffolk police praised the victim of the attack for her "incredible bravery" in helping them with their investigation.

Superintendent Janine Wratten said: "The woman has been incredibly brave helping officers with their enquiries trying to progress this investigation.

Superintendent Janine Wratten

Superintendent Janine Wratten - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

"We understand how worrying this is for the public. It happened midday during daylight hours and the community should be able to feel safe to go out for a jog and we are as shocked as they are. 

"My officers that work in that area are local residents and community members themselves, so they are as keen as anyone to hunt this person down and bring him to justice."

The stretch of the Old A11 was closed until the afternoon of November 11 while forensics officers worked on the scene. Police have also carried out house-to-house enquiries and collected CCTV as part of their investigation.

Supt Wratten said: "We are keen to hear from anyone who might have been in the area between 11am and 1pm as that would be really useful for our enquiries."

The suspect is described as male, approximately 5ft 9ins tall, had brown stubble on his face and he was heard speaking with an English accent.

He was also wearing a black puffer jacket with the hood up and was seen with a bike.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Suffolk Constabulary, quoting reference: 37/63186/21.

The force can be reached on 101, or Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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