Manchester police seek two men in connection with shopping centre rape
Boy, 14, was raped in toilets of Debenhams in city centre after being frogmarched from Arndale centre on busy Saturday
Police have issued CCTV footage of two men they want to question after a 14-year-old boy was raped in a horrific attack in the toilets of a department store in Manchester city centre on a busy Saturday afternoon.
The boy was approached by two men on 2 June while using a toilet at the bustling Arndale shopping centre, after he noticed them staring at him. They suddenly grabbed his arm and said: “Come with us, do what we say, and if you try to run we’ll get you.”
He was frogmarched out of the Arndale, taken to the nearby Debenhams department store in Market Street, into the lifts and then to the store’s toilets, where one of the men raped him. Despite walking past scores of shoppers in the city centre, it seems that no one noticed that anything was amiss.
Although it is two months since the attack, a team of specially trained officers have been working with the traumatised victim to build up a picture of what happened and to obtain forensic evidence. A video interview has been recorded with the victim to help the investigation. One of the men is white and the other man – who raped the boy – is of Asian heritage. The police have now issued CCTV footage of two men they want to question in connection with the incident.
Greater Manchester police say that at 5.45pm on the day of the attack, the teenager had been in the shopping centre, near the entrance of the Subway sandwich shop and Aldi, before he went to use the toilet.
Detective Sergeant Liam Boden of North Manchester CID said the young victim was absolutely devastated by what happened to him. “As a result, we have ensured that he has been supported by officers who are trained in dealing with victims under this type of terrible circumstances.”
Boden said the incident was particularly shocking because the boy was marched across the city centre on a busy Saturday afternoon.
“However, this means I’m confident that shoppers may have seen the offenders, either before or after the incident. I want people to take a good look at these men in these images and tell me who they are.”
His colleague, Superintendent Stuart Ellison, said: “When you think about a 14-year-old out in the city centre at that time of the evening, when the footfall is pretty heavy and there are a lot of people about, the fact that someone could be marched across the street and into a store in this way is pretty horrific.”
He added that he found the attack “particularly disturbing”, saying: “When I think about family or friends who could have been out in the Arndale at that time of night, it disturbs me greatly.”
Greater Manchester is nationally recognised as a model of good practice in terms of the support it offers for rape victims, both male and female. A charity, Survivors Manchester, specifically offers support and counselling for adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape.
A spokesman for Debenhams said the store was shocked to hear about the incident “and would like to reassure shoppers this is an isolated case”. He said the store was working closely with the police and appealing for anyone who had any information to contact them.
The case has shocked residents of Manchester, with many people using Twitter or Facebook to publicise the police appeal.
Anyone with information is urged to contact North Manchester CID on 0161 856 3240 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Full story The Guardian