Rape allegation by teenager

A 15-year-old girl who ran into a church for help at the end of a service on Sunday evening told police she had been raped in the grounds.

A 15-year-old girl who ran into a church for help at the end of a service on Sunday evening told police she had been raped in the grounds.

Worshippers emerged from the church in south Lowestoft moments before police arrived on the premises and began an investigation.

The teenager had rushed into the building and been helped by two women from the congregation, who then made a 999 call. She was later taken to hospital for treatment.

Detectives cordoned off the building and the neighbouring low-lying grassed area, where the alleged rape took place.

The area is known as the church garden and is accessible down a slope next to the church's main entrance.

It is a secluded area, surrounded by trees, and its east boundary runs parallel with the former A12 road through Pakefield.

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The building and grounds at London Road Baptist Church, on Kirkley Park Road, Lowestoft, remained closed, with police cars outside the main entrance, until mid-morning yesterday while forensic work was finished.

Police arrested two men, aged 27 and 29, on Sunday evening about an hour after the alleged attack.

The 27-year-old was later released and faces no further action, while the 29-year-old, arrested on suspicion of rape, was released on bail last night until December 4.

John Norris, pastoral associate at the church, said he knew little about the incident, but confirmed that a young woman had come into the church for help.

"There was an incident in the church grounds at around 7pm yesterday evening," he said.

"Two of the ladies in the church gave assistance to a young woman who had run into the church in distress."

Anne-Marie Breach, a spokesman for Suffolk Police, said police were talking to the victim, who is thought to come from south Lowestoft.

Anyone with information about the church attack should contact Lowestoft police on 01986 835100.