Police give update on 'rape and burglary' investigation at St Annes care home

The New Thursby care home in Clifton Drive North, St Annes
The New Thursby care home in Clifton Drive North, St Annes
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The second teen arrested on suspicion of rape after an intruder was found in the bedroom of a resident at a St Annes care home has been released under investigation.

The 18-year-old local man was held on Friday morning and was kept in for questioning. Lancashire Police this morning confirmed to The Gazette he has since been released pending further enquiries.

A 16-year-old boy from Blackpool, who was earlier arrested on suspicion of the same offences, also remained released under investigation.

The development means the pair won't have to report back to a local police station by a set date, but will instead be notified at some point in the future whether or not they will face any charges.

An intruder - a figure dressed all in black - was allegedly found in a room at the New Thursby Care Home in Clifton Drive North shortly before 5am on Sunday, August 4.

They fled out the same window they got in through, detectives believe, with a major manhunt launched immediately after.

The victim of the alleged attack and their family "are being cared for by professionals and continue to be supported by specialist officers", police said in a statement late last week.

It added: "A team of detectives remain committed to the investigation and would urge anyone with information to call 101 quoting log 350 of 4th August."

Liz Hitchen, 39, was the carer who disturbed the intruder – and forced them to flee as she screamed for help.

She said: “They turned and looked at me very slowly. We both looked at each other for a long while. I backed out the door and let out a massive scream that came from deep down.”

Miss Hitchen has worked at the home for five years and said thought her eyes were playing tricks on her as she checked on the resident, who was lying in the dark.

She said: “I stood there at the door and thought, Why are they moving?’ Then I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me. Then I thought, Or there’s someone behind their bed.’ Then I realised.

“It was horrible. I couldn’t get my head around it when I opened the door.

“With the person standing still, they thought I couldn’t see them because they were wearing all black.”

Police patrols were stepped up in the area in the aftermath of the alleged attack, Det Insp Jamie Lillystone said, while people were warned not to leave their doors and windows unsecured.

Security was also stepped up by bosses at the nearby Clifton Hospital.

Information can be reported to 101. Quote 350 of August 4, 2019.