17 year-old raped in West End

Published

Sarah Smith

Photo: James Porteous

A 17 year-old woman was raped during the early hours of September 20 whilst walking down Bank Street in the direction of Great Western Road.

At around 3am, the victim was grabbed from behind before being forced into a doorway where she was subjected to what police are describing as a “horrifying” assault.

Although the woman did not require hospital attention, she was severely traumatised by her ordeal. Following the attack, the suspect ran off across Great Western Road towards Belmont Lane. He is described as being well tanned, with particularly dark eyes — possibly European — and did not have a local accent. He is of a slim build, approximately 5’8” in height and aged in his mid-30s. The suspect had shaved dark hair and was wearing a black hooded top and dark jeans at the time of the attack.

President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Laura Laws is urging students to take advantage of the services offered by the University, especially considering the proximity of the attack to union and university buildings.

She said: “It is disgusting that attacks like this take place anywhere. Even though the West End is one of the safest areas of the city, residents need to bear in mind that they are still at risk. We’ve been telling students to take every precaution — not walking alone at night — walk with friends use public transport or take a taxi.

“The SRC provides free attack alarms and minibuses to and from campus and student halls during term-time as well as giving welcome talks alongside the fire brigade, police and university staff to help our new students think about staying safe. Hopefully we can enforce this message so that these horrific attacks will happen less in future.”

Laws also explained that the SRC would be campaigning on behalf of students for the council to improve the lighting in and around Glasgow’s West End.

“Bank Street is one of a number of notoriously dark areas around the West End. This year, the SRC will be campaigning for Glasgow City Council to install more lights and to take the fear and risk such dark streets expose the public to more seriously that the cost of lighting installation itself.”

Despite the SRC’s efforts, it seems that their message isn’t reaching all of the students at Glasgow.

Simone McSeveney, a 3rd year student of Molecular Cell Biology, told Guardian:

“I’ve never seen anything from the SRC about awareness myself and I’ve never seen any literature about it. I never really thought about it being the SRC’s place to educate students about this kind of thing but I think they should if it’s happening so often.”

According to Strathclyde Police Crime Statistics, there have been 57 indecent assualts, rapes and attempted rapes in Glasgow’s West End since April 1 2009.

Kate Armstrong, studying her final year in Slavonic Studies with Russian, explained that she felt that such incidents have become a fairly regular occurrence.

She said: “I feel it’s something that happens every year around the time of Freshers’ Week. After hearing about this I did think that I would buy a bike and cycle instead of walking. It’s terrible but I get freaked out walking through Kelvinway at 8pm — I’d be anxious about doing even that because I’m quite careful.”

Detective Sergeant Charlie Craig of Glasgow West End CID is appealing for witnesses.

He said: “This was a horrifying attack on a local young woman. I will do all I can to ensure this person is caught and I would urge anyone who was in the general area of Bank Street or Great Western Road in the early hours of Sunday September 20 and saw this attack to come forward.

“I would also appeal to anyone who recognises the description of the suspect to get in touch. Any person with information is asked to telephone the CID at Partick 0141 532 3583 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be maintained.”