Woman, 55, ‘raped by man in graveyard as she mourned’

A woman was allegedly raped at St Andrew's Church in Hove, East Sussex (Picture: Wikipedia)

A woman was allegedly raped by a man when she visited a graveyard in East Sussex.

Police confirmed they were investigating an alleged sexual assault that took place at St Andrew's Church, in Hove, on Thursday.

The suspect is said to have sat next to the victim, 55, on a bench before attacking her between 5.30pm and 6pm.

The victim has been unable to give an interview because she is still in a distraught state.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: 'Officers are investigating after [the woman] was reported to have been raped in the graveyard at St Andrew's Church, next to the Tesco superstore on Church Road, Hove, on Thursday.

'The suspect - described as a white man aged in his 40s and 5ft 6ins tall, was of average build with short grey hair and wearing jeans. He attacked his victim after sitting down beside her on a bench.

'The incident is believed to have occurred as dusk was falling, between 5.30pm and 6pm,' said the spokesman.

'Police have not yet been able to carry out a detailed interview with the woman due to her distraught state and vulnerable condition but she is being supported by specially trained officers.'

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Detective Inspector Vickie Maroki, of Brighton's Safeguarding Investigations Unit, added: 'We believe this to be an isolated incident but clearly we want to find out more as soon as we can.’

She appealed for anyone who had seen or heard anything suspicious to contact Sussex Police by phoning 101, quoting Operation Epping.

Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.