Men questioned over rape of girl, 8

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A NUMBER of men are being questioned about the rape of an eight-year-old girl in a park, police said yesterday.

They said it followed a description which the girl was able to give after gentle coaxing following her ordeal last Friday. However, a police spokesman said there were no suspects and no one was being held in custody.

The girl, whose age was previously said by police to be seven, was found sobbing and partly clothed after she was attacked in Northlands Park, Pitsea, Essex.

But she was trying to overcome her distress by helping police catch the 'horrible man', a police news conference was told.

Two women police constables who have spent many hours with the victim since her ordeal said that as a result of the 'bit-by-bit' description of the attacker - a black man aged between 20 and 30 with protruding teeth - a number of men were being questioned.

Constable Beryl Fennell, 38, said the girl was being encouraged to tell police more, in between tears and between talk and games intended to let her relax.

'She would just like to see him in court to prevent him doing anything like this again,' PC Fennell said. 'She thinks he is a horrible man.'

The rapist dragged her into bushes with his hands over her mouth as she was running to join friends who were walking a dog.

PC Fennell said the girl was under mild sedation and was being treated for injuries received in the 'ferocious' attack. She was also being counselled for emotional problems caused by the ordeal.