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Thursday, 29 September 2016
Oxford parents warned after 14-year-old schoolgirl abducted and raped
Parents around Oxford have been warned not to let their children walk to school alone after a 14-year-old schoolgirl was abducted from a busy street in the city and raped.
The girl was driven off and assaulted in a car by two men, before she was found nearly four hours later, knocking on doors for help in a nearby street.
Head teachers and police urged pupils to take extra care as detectives said they had launched a “very large investigation” into the attack.
Detectives confirmed one line of inquiry was whether the assault on Wednesday morning was linked to a sex attack on another teenager a little over a mile away at the weekend.
Thames Valley police said the schoolgirl was wearing uniform when she was taken at 8.25am by two white men in a silver hatchback car, possible a Volkswagen, from the area of Marston Ferry Road and Banbury Road.
The victim did not know her attackers, and may have been “hugged” to get her into the car, rather than dragged off the street.
She was found by officers over a mile away, on Cavendish Drive, Marston, at midday after she had knocked on nearby houses seeking help. Builders working nearby said they had seen her sitting on a nearby wall before police and an ambulance arrived.
It is possible you may have witnessed this incident and may not have realised the severity of the situationDCI Simon Steel
Detectives said the girl is believed to have been raped inside the car while it was in the Summertown area and police forensics teams were last night trawling woodland along Marston Brook, close to where she was found.
Supt Christian Bunt, police commander for Oxford, said: “This is a very concerning incident for all involved and I appreciate that it must be very concerning for the public.
“In light of this we are stepping up patrols in the area to provide reassurance and there will be a very visible police presence whilst the investigation continues.”
“I would ask parents to consider the safety of their children and if they are walking to school make sure they try to keep in groups.
“I would also ask people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious”.
The area where the girl was taken contains several schools, including several prestigious private schools, and the road was very busy at the time, said residents.
Val Heigink, 52, a receptionist at a hotel nearby, said: “It is very safe around here and at half eight in the morning is very busy. It's horrible - totally terrible.
"People around here will be so shocked. I'm shocked. It's every parents' worst nightmare. I'm speechless."
The abduction came just days after another sex attack on a young woman by two white men in a nearby suburb.
A 19-year-old woman was attacked by two white men just over a mile away in Headington in the early hours of Sunday morning.
She managed to escape the pair in their late teens or early 20s after being sexually assaulted.
Det Supt Chris Ward, head of Thames Valley Police major crimes unit, said: “There are a number of other inquiries going on in relation to this. One of those is to look at similar or other attacks that have happened.
“We are not linking this to anything else at the moment, but we are at a very early stage, should we do that, we will release that information. That’s part of the investigation.”