Forensics hunt clues after woman's horror sex attack

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By Cara Sulieman

A WOMAN who had popped out for cigarettes was raped on her way back home.

The 34-year-old was walking back from a Scotmid in Edinburgh at around 11pm on Thursday night when she was attacked by a man who ushered her on to a side street before raping her.

Today police cordoned off Balfour Street as they scoured for clues, searching in bins and blocking off the area around where the attack took place.

Detective Chief Inspector John McKenzie said that the woman was “hysterical” after her ordeal and the police were still trying to get more information from her.

Dressed in stonewashed jeans and a turquoise cardigan, the 5’4” slim woman was wearing her slippers as she made her way to Scotmid at the bottom of Leith Walk.

On her way back, the suspect tried to talk to her as they approached Jameson Place.

It was then that the man directed his victim across the road and down Balfour Street before raping her between two workmen’s portacabins.

The woman loudly screamed for help but no one came.

After a 10-15 minute attack, the suspect fled back on to Leith Walk.

Police are unsure which way he went after that and are appealing for witnesses to come forward who may have seen him.

Just minutes afterwards, a passer-by spotted the distressed woman and went to help her – calling the police and trying to calm her down.

Detective Chief Inspector McKenzie said it was unclear how the suspect had managed to get his victim into Balfour Street.

He said: “I am aware that he has managed to direct her down this street – I am unaware if there were any threats of violence or other method used.”

But he assured the public that police would be keeping a high presence in the area.

The Detective Chief Inspector added: “A passer by observed this lady in a distressed state and came to her assistance and contacted the police.

“We are continuing to work with her to get more information about the suspect. We do know that she didn’t know the man who raped her.

“There is an extensive CCTV network in this area and work is ongoing to indentify the male in question.

“We are going on forensic evidence, CCTV and door to door to try and get as much information as we can about this man.

“The investigation is at a very early stage, and we are in the process of trying to establish exactly what happened.

“This has been a very traumatic experience for the woman, and we are doing all we can to trace the person responsible.

“Incidents of this kind are rare, and for this reason I would appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time, and who may have seen what happened, to come forward.

“Similarly, I would ask anyone who recognises the description to get in touch.”

The man is described as being a white man in his 20s with short spiky blonde hair and a high forehead.

He was around 5ft 9ins tall of a muscly build with a tan.

He was wearing jeans and a dark t-shirt at the time of the attack.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.

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