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'I'm lost for words' - community's shock following sexual assault on teenage girl

PUBLISHED: 16:11 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 18 June 2019

A Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas Chapman

A Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas Chapman

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A community has expressed its shock after a 17-year-old girl was followed along a "quiet" street and sexually assaulted.

A Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas ChapmanA Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas Chapman

The attack, between 11.30pm and 11.40pm on Sunday night, happened after the teenager had been at Aldi on Millennium Way in Lowestoft.

After parting company with friends, the girl cut through Coniston Walk and became aware of a man on a bike cycling towards her.

As she continued onto Foxborough Road, he made suggestive comments towards her before exposing himself and committing an offensive act.

The victim attempted to get away by walking onto Crestview Drive and towards Weston Road, but the man continued to follow her and grabbed her backside.

A Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas ChapmanA Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas Chapman

She finally managed to get away by seeking help from a friend's house nearby.

Those living in the area have voiced their astonishment that a crime of this nature could occur in such a peaceful neighbourhood.

"I'm lost for words," said Gordon Swan, who has lived on Crestview Drive for 16 years. "It's a shocking thing to happen and I'm very sad for the girl.

"I'm surprised for it to happen down this way because, personally, I think it's really safe - otherwise I wouldn't have moved here.

A Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas ChapmanA Lowestoft community is in shock after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted. Picture: Thomas Chapman

"Despite that, the street lights do go off at 11.30pm, so even when I'm walking home in the dark I'm wary of my surroundings."

Another homeowner, who moved to the same road in 1993, said there was seldom any crime in this part of Lowestoft.

"Nothing like this ever happens round here," she added. "There have been break-ins over the years but nothing like this.

"It's normally quiet but, in my opinion, the street lights should definitely be on late at night."

The suspect, wearing dark-coloured clothing and riding a dark-coloured mountain bike, is described as aged in his early 20s, 5ft 8in tall, of skinny build and with a stubbly beard.

Police are encouraging witnesses or anyone with dashcam footage to call 101, quoting reference 34736/19

Valerie Catchpole, who is from Lowestoft and has lived on Foxborough Road for three years, emphasised concern for her family's wellbeing.

"I worry myself sick about my grandchildren because you just don't know who is around you," she said.

"When I was young you didn't have to worry about things like this, but these days you certainly do."

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