British student was raped on Paris death train

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The Independent Online
A BRITISH student was attacked and raped a year ago on the same overnight train from Limoges to Paris that a 20-year- old English woman was thrown from in October.

French investigators are examining the possibility that the murder of Isabel Peake was part of a series of attacks by one man, including an assault at knifepoint on a Breton woman on the same line in September.

The student attacked last year was - like Ms Peake - on a one-year course at the University of Limoges. She did not report the rape to French authorities but did so when she reached Britain.

She came forward again after reading reports of the death of Ms Peake, whose partly clothed and broken body was found beside the Limoges-Paris railway line south of Chateauroux on 13 October. The girl - who has not been named - was among a number of people interviewed by the two examining magistrates leading the French inquiry when they travelled to Britain two weeks ago.

Last week, the investigators issued a composite picture of a man whom they wish to question about the attack on Ms Peake, from Barlaston, Staffordshire. Although officially described as a "possible witness, not a suspect", his description answers that of a man seen talking to, or standing close to, Ms Peake at Limoges station before she caught the Paris night train. The man is between 25 and 30 year old, of Mediterranean appearance and of medium height and build. He was wearing trainers, a baseball cap and a dark shirt.

His description also fits that of a man who attacked a young Breton woman on the Limoges to Paris line in September.

Investigation sources re- fused to say yesterday whether it also fitted the description given by the British girl attacked last year but they confirmed that the witness appeal made in October had produced reports of a series of thefts and minor assaults on the Limoges-Paris night train. The possibility that all three attacks on the train were by one man - or a group of men - was under investigation, the sources said.