Woman raped near Blackpool Zoo

Woodside Drive, Blackpool.
Woodside Drive, Blackpool.
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Detectives are appealing for information after a “vulnerable” woman was driven to a secluded wooded area and raped in Blackpool.

The 43-year-old woman, who was unable to defend herself because she walks using crutches, was approached by her attacker in Palatine Road, close to the junction with Central Drive, police said.

She had been planning to visit the cash point but discovered it was out of use.

The attacker, gave the victim the impression she knew him by calling her over to his car around 8pm on Saturday and offering her a lift to another working cash point nearby.

But instead of helping the woman as agreed, detectives said he drove her to Woodside Drive (above), the entrance of Blackpool Zoo, before getting out of the car and raping the woman in the wooded area before driving off.

A good Samaritan cycling along East Park Drive spotted the woman in distress after the attack and stopped to help her.

After discovering what happened, police said he cycled the short distance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and got an ambulance to attend to the woman.

Detectives are now appealing for this good Samaritan to come forward along with anyone who witnessed the attack or remembers seeing anything suspicious.

Det Insp Tony Baxter, of Blackpool’s public protection unit, said: “This was a horrific experience for the victim.

“She was vulnerable because she uses crutches to get about and would have been unable to defend herself.

“Thankfully, these types of crimes are rare in Blackpool.

“I appeal to anyone who remembers seeing a woman on crutches getting into a car in Palatine Road around this time to come forward.

“I would also like to speak to anyone who saw the car in Woodside Drive to contact police and I urge the good samaritan to also make contact.”

The victim, is now being supported by specially trained officers and crime of scenes officers have been examining the scene.

Detectives are also sifting through CCTV footage of the area to try to identify the attacker. The man. is described as Middle Eastern in appearance, between 5ft 5ins and 6ft tall, of medium build with black spikey hair.

He was driving a dark blue vehicle.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.