Woman gang-raped after being thrown in canal

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The Independent Online

Witnesses are being sought after a woman was thrown into a canal, struggled out, then was gang-raped by four men while their female friends encouraged the assault.

Witnesses are being sought after a woman was thrown into a canal, struggled out, then was gang-raped by four men while their female friends encouraged the assault.

The 37-year-old victim was attacked as she walked along the Grand Union Canal towpath near Ladbroke Grove, west London, early on Saturday.

She had been out for the evening and was walking along the path between 12.15am and 12.45am when she started talking to a group of men and women.

She was pushed in the canal and after managing to struggle out of the water she was raped three times by the four men and suffered serious sexual assault. They forced her to the ground and threw her clothes back in the water.

"The suspects were encouraged by the female members of the group," said a spokeman for Scotland Yard.

Afterwards the victim was forced to stagger home naked because she could not retrieve her clothes from the canal.

Detectives were yesterday studying CCTV footage of the area and appealed for any witnesses who may have been in the area at the time.

Detective Inspector Mike Christensen said: "This was a savage attack and everyone who has heard about it is very shocked.

"The woman is extremely badly shaken and receiving the medical attention and emotional support that she needs."

The attackers, who were black men and white, are believed to be between the ages of 16 and 22.

The attack happened nearly four years after the gang rape of an Austrian tourist who was also thrown into a London canal. The 33-year-old was repeatedly raped by a number of youths near the Regent's Canal in King's Cross.

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