Hunt for men after boy raped in Debenhams department store

Police appeal for help after victim was grabbed in daylight at a busy Manchester mall

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The Independent Online

A hunt is under way for two men accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in the toilet of a department store.

The victim was grabbed by the pair in Manchester's Arndale shopping centre while he was on the way to the toilet, before being led away to another toilet in a nearby Debenhams where he was attacked.

An investigation into the incident, which took place on Saturday 2 June, has been under way for two months after the victim contacted Greater Manchester Police. But yesterday the force, which had been waiting for the results of forensic tests while gathering details from the vulnerable victim and making other enquiries, decided to make a public appeal by releasing CCTV images of the suspects – one white man and one Asian.

Police said the boy was initially approached at 5:45pm near the entrances of Aldi and Subway by the men, who stared at the boy before one of them told him: "Come with us, do what we say and if you try to run we'll get you." They then forced him to walk out of the shopping centre with them to Debenhams, where he was taken upstairs to the toilets and raped by the Asian man.

Detective Sergeant Liam Boden, of North Manchester CID, said: "This young victim has been absolutely devastated by what happened to him. As a result we have ensured that he has been supported by officers who are trained in dealing with victims under this type of terrible circumstances.

"What makes this incident doubly shocking is that he was marched across a busy part of the city centre during the late afternoon on Saturday.

"However, this means I am confident that shoppers may have seen the offenders either before or after the incident. I want people to take a good look at the men in these images and tell me who they are."

Anyone with potential information has been asked to call North Manchester CID or Crimestoppers.