Wigan park rape: Residents furious with police over three month silence

Residents have blasted police for waiting three months to tell them there was a rapist potentially at large in their Wigan neighbourhood.
Holgate Playing Fields, known as Orrell Park, off Moor Road, Orrell.Holgate Playing Fields, known as Orrell Park, off Moor Road, Orrell.
Holgate Playing Fields, known as Orrell Park, off Moor Road, Orrell.

Only last week did officers launch an appeal for information about the savage sex attack on a teenager at Orrell Park, on the evening of Saturday, June 30.

Since that appeal was issued, along with a picture of a man they wished to speak to, an arrest has been made.

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But Moor Road residents, whose homes back onto the park, are furious that no-one had notified them until then, saying they should have been alerted for public safety’s sake.

Mum Marina Berry said: “Our first thoughts are with the poor victim but we have a daughter who was 10 at the time of the attack. My father-in-law even made a gate in our back garden so you can get straight onto the park and she and her friends would regular go through there and happily play.

“If we had known there was a violent rapist in the area, we wouldn’t have let any of them out of our sight. I can understand if there were procedural issues but they also have a duty of care to prevent further crimes from being committed and that duty wasn’t observed when keeping potential victims in the dark.

“A friend of mine recalls the police coming round soon after the incident asking if she had CCTV looking out at the back. She didn’t and they didn’t explain why. It has all become clear now.”

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The victim was attacked at 6pm on Saturday, June 30. She had been sitting on a large rock on an overgrown path from Moor Road to the allotments on the park when a man walked past,

He stopped with his back to her before turning and sitting next to her on a blue crate.

He then indecently exposed himself before raping her.

Responding to the residents’ complaints about the lack of information, police say they conducted numerous lines of inquiry, including forensic analysis and examination of CCTV footage.

And Det Insp Matthew Moore from GMP’s Wigan Division said: “As part of this investigation we have brought one person into custody, but our investigation does not stop here.

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“We understand the concern that an incident like this causes and we have a team of detectives who have been working on this case since June.

“There are many sensitivities surrounding this investigation and extensive work has been conducted behind the scenes to trace the offender, whilst – most importantly – supporting the victim.

“The victim has bravely shared what happened to her with police. We would urge anyone who has information on this crime to do the same.”

It is a 33-year-old man who contacted the police after its public appeal who was arrested. He has since been released under investigation.

Police can be contacted on 0161 856 5307. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.