By Anshu Pandit
A young woman has allegedly been raped in Kingston town centre after a night of clubbing at Bacchus nightclub.
Police are investigating the assault, which occurred near the Apple Market in Kingston in the early morning on Saturday, January 28.
“Detectives from Kingston Sapphire Unit are investigating an allegation of rape of a woman in her early 20s,” said a police spokesperson. “There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”
The Sapphire Unit is part of the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate (SC) and is responsible for investigating serious crimes, including rape and murder.
The alleged attack occurred at 3.15am, 15 minutes after Bacchus closed for the night. Detectives believe the victim met the suspect earlier in the evening.
Police are presently not releasing a description of the alleged attacker for “operational reasons” and cannot confirm if the victim is a student.
The number of alleged rapes in Kingston rose to 59 last year, a rise of 28.3 per cent compared to figures from 2010. Kingston’s Borough commander Martin Greenslade said that “an 11 per cent rise in other sexual offences last year was linked to clubs, bars and late-night drinking in Kingston town centre”.
In order to be safe on nights out, the Sapphire Unit has advised people to plan their transport ahead of time and to be wary of sharing drinks.
“Try to travel with people you know,” the Sapphire Unit website stated.
“When you can, stick to routes where other people are and avoid shortcuts in lonely places.”
Victims of rape and other sexual assault who are afraid to come forward can seek help anonymously through The Haven, a centre which offers medical attention and the chance to speak to a trusted doctor or nurse. The local centre for Kingston is in Camberwell.
“One in four women and one in ten men will experience sexual assault within their lifetime,” said a Camberwell Haven spokesperson. “Before you go out, plan your journey home, take a registered taxi and avoid using fliers advertising taxis which have been left in pubs and clubs, as they could be illegal ones.
“If you are concerned that you have been sexually assaulted, you can call The Haven, night or day, on 020 3299 1599.”
If you have any information about the incident on January 28, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.