Washington woman still waiting for justice 20 years after being dragged into bush and raped

An artist's impression of the attacker. Credit: Northumbria Police

The victim of an unsolved rape case is appealing to the public to help find her attacker 20 years on.

On 22 July 2003, the victim, then aged 16, reported she was dragged into the bushes near the junction of the A1231 and Parkway in Washington by an unknown man.

She was walking along a footpath in between Village Lane and Boston Avenue at about 8:30pm when she was attacked, threatened with a knife and was told: “Do as I say or I will kill you.”

Following the sustained attack, the suspect is reported to have left the scene in a mahogany-coloured car.

A large-scale police operation was launched to identify the attacker with detectives conducting more than 500 house-to-house inquiries, taking more than 350 statements and circulating an artist’s impression of the suspect. However, no one has yet been caught.

The victim, who is entitled to life-long anonymity and cannot be identified, made a direct plea to the public.

She said: “I continue to live every day knowing the man who brutally attacked me and has created so much trauma, is still out there free.

“I wake every day and pray that an offender will be caught so that I can feel that someone has been made accountable for the horrendous impact this has had on my life. 

“Please help me to find this man, who has not yet paid for his actions 20 years on. I need this case kept alive, so he knows this is not forgotten. Someone out there must know something and if you do, please come forward to help me to find justice.  

“Everywhere I go and everything I do, I am looking over my shoulder and will continue to until the day he is found.”

The victim was walking along a footpath in between Village Lane and Boston Avenue when she was attacked. Credit: Google Maps

Detective Superintendent Alan Cairns, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, said: “I want to recognise the immense and continuous courage the victim has shown throughout this time and we want to be able to bring her the justice she deserves.

“Twenty years on from the attack, we are again appealing to the public to come forward if you have any information at all in relation to this case.

“While we recognise a number of years have now past, someone could still hold the key in helping bring justice.

“No matter how small or insignificant you feel what you know may be, we would urge you to come forward – it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Anyone with information is asked to ring 101 or visit the ‘Tell us Something’ section of the Northumbria Police website, quoting log NP-20230721-0267.

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