Police no longer investigating report of churchyard rape after examining CCTV

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Thames Valley Police is no longer investigating a reported rape in Oxfordshire.

Officers began an urgent investigation after a woman in her 20s reported that she had been raped in the churchyard of St Mary's Church in Witney in the early hours of Sunday morning (19th September) by a man she did not know.

Police say extensive enquiries have been undertaken since the initial report, and they are now in a position to confirm that they are no longer investigating an incident of rape, and that no other investigations in relation to this incident are taking place.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Superintendent Emma Garside, Local Policing Commander for Cherwell & West Oxfordshire, said: "We received a report of a rape, and commenced an immediate urgent investigation into the alleged incident.

"However, following a thorough examination of CCTV footage in the local area, as well as speaking to potential witnesses, we are now satisfied that the incident has not occurred as reported.

"We would like to reassure the people of Witney that we took the initial report very seriously and deployed a number of resources into investigating the report as a priority, including placing a scene-watch in the area of St Mary’s Church.

"It would not be helpful to speculate as to the reasons of the initial report, but I would like to thank the public and local community for coming forward to support information which supported this investigation.

"As a result of our investigation, at this stage, we are no longer appealing for further information.

"The reported incident understandably caused a great deal of community concern.

"Attacks such as initially reported are mercifully rare and will always be treated extremely seriously and thoroughly investigated, and would re-iterate my thanks to the local community for coming forward with information."