Lancashire woman urged to come forward as key witness in UK-wide rape investigation

Police want to speak to a woman who is believed to have talked with the suspect at a bus stop on Broadway, Haslingden at around 10.40am on Sunday, May 5.
Police want to speak to a woman who is believed to have talked with the suspect at a bus stop on Broadway, Haslingden at around 10.40am on Sunday, May 5.
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Detectives investigating the rape of a boy and a teenage girl in Lancashire are urging a potentially key witness to come forward.


Police are seeking a woman who is believed to have talked with a man at a bus stop on Broadway in Haslingden at around 10.40am on Sunday, May 5.

CCTV enquiries revealed that the woman boarded the X41 bus, which travels from Accrington to Manchester, at the same time as the man.

Security footage shows the man and woman sitting separately.

Earlier that morning, Lancashire Police responded to reports that a girl and a boy had been sexually assaulted at a home in Haslingden. A woman had also allegedly been imprisoned against her will.

READ MORE: Fugitive Joseph McCann arrested over series of abductions and sex attacks

The horrific attack happened at about 8am on Sunday, May 5 - just two hours before the suspect boarded the X41 bus in Broadway.

A 34-year-old man was later arrested in Cheshire following a national manhunt for an alleged serial rapist. He is being investigated for a number of attacks around the country, including Manchester and London.

READ MORE: Alleged rapist Joseph McCann to be forced to appear in front of judge

DCI Zoe Russo from Lancashire’s Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT) said: “This was a truly horrendous attack on two children and a woman and our enquiries are continuing. Specially trained officers will continue to offer support to the victims.

“As part of our on-going enquiries we need to trace the woman described so that we can speak to her as a key witness. We know she conversed with a man at the bus stop on Broadway.

“If you think this was you, please make contact with us as soon as possible.”

You can call Lancashire Police on 101 or you independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting reference 541 of May 5.

Joseph McCann, 34, of Aylesbury, has been charged with a number of offences.