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Police issue E-fit to help solve 1978 gang rape of teenager in Plymouth

Two men that detectives would like more information about in relation to a 1978 rape in Plymouth. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

Police investigating the gang rape of a teenager more than 40 years ago are hunting two men believed to be members of a touring rugby team.

The then-17-year-old victim was subjected to multiple rapes by several men at a hotel in Plymouth in late January or early February in 1978.

Devon and Cornwall Police have issued facial composites of two persons of interest thought to be part of the rugby club which was visiting Plymouth from South Wales.

Detective Superintendent Jo Hall, who is leading the investigation, said the men would have "changed considerably" and are likely to be in their sixties now.

“I would like to hear from anyone who recognises these men and I would remind the public that I am seeking these men as witnesses to a horrific crime upon a young female.”

An image of the now closed Strathmore Hotel where the alleged incident took place. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

The alleged offences took place on a Saturday in late January or early February in 1978 at the now closed Strathmore Hotel in Elliot Street.

The victim and her friend had been socialising in the Safari Club – now known as the Notte Inn – when they met a man, believed to be in his twenties.

He said he was a maths teacher and was part of a sports team on tour from South Wales. The girl left her friend and went with the teacher to his room at the Strathmore Hotel.

Around an hour later a large group of men, believed to have been known to the teacher, barged into the room and the victim was subjected to multiple rapes.

A map showing the locations involved in the investigation. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police/PA

The alleged perpetrators were all described as white, clean shaven and believed to be in their twenties.

Afterwards, during the early evening, the teacher and another man visited the Duke of Cornwall Hotel with the traumatised girl and her friend.

Years on, detectives managed to create an e-fit of these two men to assist in the investigation.

Detective Hall said the men were "key to identifying the individuals who carried out this horrendous attack."

“Although this happened over 40 years ago there is every likelihood that allegiances have changed in that time and now is the time to do the right thing," she said.