Serious sexual assault in Capital sparks police appeal

Police are appealing for information
Police are appealing for information

A TEENAGE student has been raped after getting into a car following a night out in the city centre.

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The 19-year-old was driven from the Grassmarket to Meadowbank where she was attacked by the male driver.

She was helped by an unknown good Samaritan from a flat around Meadowbank Terrace before calling police.

“She is understandably distressed by this attack,” said DI Kevin Harkins. “We’re following up all lines of inquiry.”

The victim is now being helped by her family after the serious sexual assault sometime between 3am and 4.30am on Sunday, February 12.

She had been out with friends and visited a number of bars in the Grassmarket, with police using CCTV to help piece together the evening.

After getting into the car, she was driven to an unknown location, believed to be a car park in Holyrood Park, and attacked by the driver.

The suspect is described as being of Asian ethnicity with dark skin, in his forties and bald. He spoke with a foreign accent and was wearing glasses.

His distressed victim then rang the doorbells of flats in and around Meadowbank Terrace before being helped by a woman.

DI Harkins said officers were trawling CCTV and going door-to-door in a bid to find witnesses.

It is not known whether the girl thought she was getting into a private hire car.

But owner of taxi training firm Edinburgh Taxi Academy, Alistair McPherson, has warned that dangers are posed by unlicensed drivers.

“You have guys prowling around and it’s terrible,” said Mr McPherson.

He said that taxi drivers had reported cases of cars without taxi plates trying to pick up fares, including one in the Grassmarket before Christmas.

“A colleague saw a guy in a silver car trying to entice a girl in so he stopped and told her it’s not a taxi and got her off the street.

“My kids are out and about as well and you have people full of alcohol who want to get home and this is what guys are preying on.”

Police are treating the attack as an “isolated incident” while Meadowbank councillor and city lead on community safety, Joan Griffiths, reassured revellers.

“This is a sad, dreadful situation,” said Cllr Griffiths. “These are not common events and people should not be fearful to go out.”

Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.