By Cara Sulieman
A SEX fiend who violently raped a teenage girl in a sleepy seaside town is being hunted by one of Scotland’s top cops.
Detective Inspector Stuart Hood – who headed Operation Algebra which cracked Scotland’s worst ever paedophile ring – has vowed to catch the attacker who left his 18-year-old victim “devastated and hysterical”.
The sickened detective told how the young woman had been walking home from friends along the High Street in North Berwick at around 12.40am this morning when she was pounced upon.
She had noticed two men standing outside the town’s Quarterdeck Pub which was closed at the time and, after crossing the road, was followed by one of them.
The other stayed behind. As she noticed the man closing in on her, he grabbed her and pushed her up against the wall outside the Blenheim House Hotel.
The terrified victim was then dragged into a lane between the hotel and a branch of RBS where she was brutally assaulted.
The attack was described by police as “very violent” and lasted for five to six minutes during which time the terrified victim sustained injuries.
It wasn’t until a passer-by came to her aid that the ordeal ended and the suspect fled.
The middle aged man, who was also visiting pals in a house nearby, heard her terrified screams and went to investigate.
When he saw the attack taking place he pulled the attacker off the girl.
There was a struggle between the two before the rapist fled up the High Street before he could be detained.
DI Stuart Hood, leading the investigations, praised the actions of the have a go hero.
He said: “Many people would have heard the screams and ignored them but this man went to her aid.
“If it weren’t for him it is likely it would have been a much more prolonged attack.”
“A major investigation has been launched to make sure that whoever carried out this attack is caught.”
He added: “I’m from East Lothian myself and something like this really hits home.”
“North Berwick is a safe and pleasant place to live and we will be increasing police visibility to make sure people feel safe – it’s what they deserve.
“We will make sure that whoever undertook this isn’t here to do undertake this again.”
The victim was said to be “devastated and hysterical” after her ordeal and being cared for by her family having had medical treatment.
Police appealed for witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area late on Monday night or early hours of yesterday morning.
They are particularly keen for the second man to come forward saying that the only way he will escape prosecution is to speak to the police.
DI Hood added: “We are following a number of lines of inquiry including forensics and CCTV but need as many people to come forward and help us as possible.”
The suspect was described as white, in his early to mid 20s, between 5ft10 and 6ft tall and of slim build.
His skin was dark but may have been tanned and he spoke with a Scottish accent.
He was wearing tight dark jeans and a dark long-sleeved top at the time of the assault.
No description of the second man was released.
A police spokesman said: “The victim was subjected to a terrifying ordeal, and she is understandably traumatised as a result of what happened.
“We are appealing for anyone who was in North Berwick town centre in the early hours of this morning, and noticed the two men standing outside the Quarterdeck Pub, to contact us immediately.
“Similarly, anyone who recognises the description of the suspect, or who has any information that can help us establish his identity, should also get in touch.”
Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.
Operation Algebra was a major multi-agency investigation into a paedophile network that led to a 10 week trial which saw eight men convicted after one of the biggest operations ever conducted by Lothian and Borders Police.