Police hunt rapist after schoolgirl attacked in woods as students walk home

Police have launched a manhunt after a schoolgirl was raped in the woods as students were leaving an academy in broad daylight in Leeds.

The young girl was attacked while she was walking through the woodland on Wednesday, close to Farnley Academy in West Yorkshire.

The victim, believed to be under the age of sixteen, managed to flee to safety after she was sexually assaulted at around 3.30pm.

Police have since issued a description of her attacker after they were alerted about the horror assault at around 11.30pm that night.

He has been described as a tall, white man in his 40s with short, brown hair, reports Leeds Live.

Police officers were pictured outside the school at pick-up time on Thursday and the footpath in the woods, where the assault is alleged to have taken place, remains taped off.

Nathalie Trafford, whose child attends year 7 at Farnley Academy, said she had received a message from the school at around 1pm to warn her the police would be releasing a statement about an incident that had happened nearby.

She said: "I am devastated about what has happened."

Pointing towards the woods, she added: "It is really scary and I am shocked that it happened literally just there."

Temporary Detective Superintendent Tony Nicholson, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: "We are treating this incident very seriously and have specialist safeguarding officers supporting the victim while we continue to establish the full circumstances.

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"We are carrying out extensive enquiries and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed any part of the incident or who has any information that could assist the investigation, particularly if they saw anyone fitting the description of the suspect in the area around the time of the offence.

"We recognise that an incident of this nature next to a local school will cause understandable concern in the community.

"We are working closely with our colleagues on the local neighbourhood policing team who are increasing their patrols of the area to reassure people and linking with key local contacts to keep them updated."

Anyone who saw what happened, or who has any information that could assist the investigation, should contact the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team on 101, quoting crime reference 13220007121.

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