DETECTIVES are hunting a man they believe may have been at a party shortly before he viciously raped a young woman.
The 20-year-old victim was attacked in the early hours of Saturday morning by a pock-marked stranger with an eastern European accent who smelled of alcohol.
She had got off a bus on Great Junction Street and was on her way to work when the rapist pounced from behind at around 4.30am at the entrance to the Swanfield Industrial Estate.
Police said they were following positive lines of inquiry and were “very hopeful” they would capture the man.
Detective Chief Inspector Alwyn Bell, who is leading the investigation, said: “The man had alcohol on his breath so he may have been at a local party, on licensed premises or hanging about on the street drinking.
“He may have come off a common stair or off a bus. He has then attacked her from behind.
“Somebody knows this man. This attack happened at 4:30am so somebody didn’t return home until after that time. He may have been out of breath,”
The rapist is described as between 5ft 7in and 6ft tall, in his mid-to-late 20s, with a gaunt, pock-marked face, and short blond receding hair combed forward.
He spoke with an eastern European accent and was wearing light-coloured jeans and a black long-sleeved jacket with a hood.
Police said they were expecting to release an e-fit of the attacker within the next few days and called on anyone who may have seen the man hanging around Great Junction Street, Pirrie Street, Henderson Street and Bonnington Road to contact them.
Additional officers have been put on patrol in the area to help with the investigation and to provide “added visibility and reassurance to the local community”.
The area around Swanfield Industrial Estate – which is home to around a dozen business – was sealed off over the weekend as forensic teams scoured the scene, while a police guard has remained on the entrance.
DCI Bell said specialist teams had been helping the traumatised victim since she underwent her horrific ordeal.
He said: “This was a violent sexual assault on a young woman as she was walking to her work.
“We have spent a great deal of time with the victim, and we are thankful that incidents like this are rare.
“But when they do happen the victim can be extremely traumatised. Specially-trained officers are providing help and support.
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the area in the early hours of Saturday morning and who saw, or heard, anything unusual to contact us a on 101 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”