CCTV clue in sex attack manhunt

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Detectives investigating the rape of a woman at the entrance of Blackpool zoo have released a CCTV image of the car used in the attack.

The driver of the dark blue car stopped in Palatine Road on August 3, to talk to his 43-year-old victim.

CCTV of the car (at the extreme top right in the picture facing left) used to drive the woman to the scene of her attack at the entrance of Blackpool Zoo.

CCTV of the car (at the extreme top right in the picture facing left) used to drive the woman to the scene of her attack at the entrance of Blackpool Zoo.

The attacker, called the ‘vulnerable’ woman over to his car by name as she walked towards Central Drive using crutches.

Police said the victim had been looking to use a cash point that was out of use when the man offered her a lift to another one nearby.

Believing she knew the man, the victim accepted his offer.

The man then drove the victim to Woodside Drive, a quiet road leading to Blackpool Zoo. He stopped the car and dragged the woman into a wooded area at the side of the road where he raped her, sometime between 5pm and 11pm.

Woodside Drive, Blackpool.

Woodside Drive, Blackpool.

The attacker then calmly got in his car before driving away. After the man left, the woman managed to flag down a cyclist for help.

The good Samaritan who had been riding along East Park Drive, saw the woman was in distress and cycled up to Blackpool Victoria Hospital to flag down an ambulance.

Det Insp Gareth Willis, of Blackpool’s public protection unit, said: “We know that there were people walking past at around the time the driver called the victim over to the car. In particular, there was a group of three men walking past – if that was you, we would be very keen to speak to you as you could have information that is crucial to the investigation.

“Likewise I would ask the cyclist who assisted the victim to come forward as he may have useful information.”

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