Police plea for more witnesses to train assault

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The Independent Online
DETECTIVES last night renewed an appeal for more passengers on a crowded train on which three teenage girls were sexually assaulted by a gang of youths to come forward.

Officers from British Transport Police have arrested and bailed two youths in their early teens in connection with the assault on Sunday. They say they have identified three others also believed responsible, and will interview them.

But only a few witnesses from the 7.19pm Southport to Liverpool train, which was bustling with day trippers returning from the seaside resort, have so far come forward. 'The train was pretty full and we know there are more people who must have seen something,' a spokesman said last night.

The lack of response is frustrating officers and railway staff are still shocked that so many people could turn a blind eye as the girls, aged 13 to 15, were pinned down and indecently assaulted by the gang.

There were guards at both ends of the Merseyrail train and communication cords over every door, but nobody attempted to raise the alarm. Inspector Ken Avis said: 'Even had they not wanted to get involved they could have pulled the cord or tried to get through to the next carriage to see if anyone had a mobile phone.'

The girls, who claim one of the boys was armed with a meat cleaver, raised the alarm themselves when they managed to get off the train at Crosby, but the gang escaped after forcing the train doors open.

The girls have refused offers of counselling and are being comforted by their families.