A middle-aged man subjected to a knifepoint sex attack in a quiet market town has spoken of his ordeal and said: "I'm not going to let them get away with this."
The victim told of the difficulty he faced in confiding to his wife what happened after he was stopped by a motorist asking for directions in Wadhurst, East Sussex.
He said he decided to go public with an appeal for witnesses after sleepless nights fearing the next victim could be a woman or a child.
After being stopped by the motorist in The Marlpit, a passenger got out asking for a light before sexually assaulting him in broad daylight at 4.45pm on Friday July 16.
The victim, who has not been named, said: "For a guy it's very hard. It's a macho thing. You feel like you've got to keep it in, but it's best out quickly.
"It's important to talk and to explain what's gone on, to make sure the description of these guys goes out and people know.
"I wasn't going to say anything. I had no intention of telling anyone, not even my wife. But after a few nights she noticed I was agitated all the time. I couldn't sleep.
"I did tell her I had been attacked on the Friday when she saw my lip, but I said someone had hit me and that was as far as it went.
"She said she knew something else was wrong and that's when I told her the full details. She said to me, 'You've got to inform the police'.
"The words that really convinced me was when she said, 'I can understand you not wanting anyone else to know, but it could be anyone next, it could be a child, it could be a woman. If these guys are going around trying to take control, you have to let people know, you have to let the police know'."
The victim, who is black, said that after the passenger got out of the car, he made a racist comment to the driver before hitting the victim in the face, knocking him to his knees.
After the assault, the victim said he believed his attacker was disturbed as the driver yelled at him before he got back into the car.
After his attacker escaped, the man took a T-shirt from his bag to staunch the blood from his cut mouth and made his way home.
Speaking through police, who he praised for their support, the victim added: "I would hope that these guys will be thinking their plan didn't work. I didn't keep quiet.
"They would have thought, 'He's not going to say anything, he's going to keep that to himself, we're going to get away with it'.
"But I'm not going to let them get away with this. They can't get away with doing this to people."
Detective Inspector Rob Morland, of Sussex Police, said although racist comments were made during the attack, it is not "at this stage" being treated as racially motivated.
He said: "We remain open-minded to the possibility that this may change if new information is received. The victim decided to disclose his race in the hope it will jog witnesses' memories."
He described the victim as "exceptionally brave" for speaking out and urged witnesses who have not yet spoken to officers to come forward.
Mr Morland, who is leading the investigation, said: "All information, however insignificant it may seem, is critical to the investigation and I would urge people to come forward."
The attacker was aged between 18 and 25, with brown mousy hair, short on the sides and gel spikes on top. He had "drooping" eyes and a thin mouth with gappy teeth.
He was wearing a yellow hoody, grey tracksuit bottoms and white trainers.
The driver had swept-back hair, a "five o'clock shadow", baggy eyes, red lips, a stocky build and was aged around 50 to 55. He was wearing a black T-shirt.
The car was a two-door, dark blue, older-style car with a beige interior.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845 6070999, quoting Operation Leeming, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.Reuse content