Police service asks fellow force to review its handling of 42-year-old gang rape case after victim appeals to rugby players who saw attack

Jessica Carpani
POlice - PA

A police service has asked a fellow force to review its handling of a 42-year-old gang rape case as the victim appeals to rugby players who saw the attack. 

Devon and Cornwall police force, who on Tuesday launched a public appeal for witnesses of the gang rape of a 17 year old girl in 1978, have said that they asked a fellow force to look into their handling of the case in 1993. 

The woman, known only as Jane, initially reported the incident to the Devon and Cornwall police force in 1993 but no suspects were found. 

The force’s handling of the case at that time is now being reviewed by the Avon and Somerset Police force and an investigation is ongoing. 

Jane reported the incident again to the Devon and Cornwall force and a new investigation was launched in 2015. 

She is now appealing for two key witnesses to come forward. The victim was just 17 when she was subjected to multiple rapes by a 'seven or eight men' who were all described as white, clean shaven, and are believed to have been in their 20s.

The woman said she has never given up hope of getting justice for the 1978 attack where she was taken to a hotel in Plymouth, Devon, before being overpowered by her attackers.

After the incident, the woman was returned to a bar by a maths teacher and another man - who are now being sought as vital witnesses.

Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police have released e-fit images of the two men in the hope that someone recognises them and new information comes to light.

As part of the appeal, the victim told the BBC: "I hope they recognise that they really do need to come forward.

"I felt at the time that they certainly didn't want what happened to me to have happened to me and I feel that they could right that wrong by coming forward and telling the police who the people were that they were with on that day and therefore who the men were that raped me.”

DS Jo Hall, senior investigating officer, said: "I believe these men are the key to identifying the individuals who carried out this horrendous attack as it is clear that the group of men are known to each other.

"We must remember that these images are based on the men in 1978, over 40 years ago, so they would have changed considerably in that time and are likely to be in their 60s now.

"I would like to hear from anyone who recognises these men and I would remind the public that I am seeking these men as witnesses to a horrific crime upon a young female."