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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Rape 'filmed on mobile phone'
Toad at the Picture House, Brighton
Police are studying CCTV footage from the pub to trace witnesses
Police investigating the rape of a woman in a pub toilet say onlookers may have recorded the crime on video-equipped mobile phones.

There was also a "very strong possibility" the 27-year-old was given a date rape drug before the attack in Brighton earlier this month, Sussex Police said on Wednesday.

The victim was found collapsed on the floor, semi-conscious, incoherent and partly clothed in the men's toilets at the Toad at the Picture House pub in East Street.

She had been out celebrating a friend's birthday.

It is a very strong possibility she was drugged
Detective Inspector Peter Laverick

The woman had been approached by two men before the attack and walked past them into the men's toilets, said detectives.

She was then forced into one of the cubicles and raped.

Other men, probably not connected to the two suspects, watched the rape.

It is believed some recorded it using hi-tech mobile video phones.

Caught on CCTV

Detective Inspector Peter Laverick, leading the investigation, said on Wednesday: "It is a very strong possibility she was drugged.

"She collapsed in a very short space of time after entering the toilets and this was totally out of character for her.

"We are appealing to the two men seen entering the toilets after the woman to come forward as potential witnesses.

"I am not sitting in judgement on them. I do not know what they thought they were witnessing.

"They may not have known a rape was going on."

I consider the men who did this to be extremely callous and a danger to women
Detective Inspector Peter Laverick

He said police were studying CCTV footage from the premises and were considering releasing images to trace the witnesses.

"I consider the men who did this to be extremely callous and a danger to women," he said.

"I need to speak to anyone who can help trace them or anyone who was in the toilets when this took place."

Police also want to find three women seen in the men's toilets shortly after the rape on Saturday 7 June.

The male attacker is described as white, in his mid-20s, 5ft 10in tall with short, dark spiky hair.

Attack 'deeply regretted'

He was wearing a long-sleeved dark shirt, possibly with white lettering on the back.

One of the men who watched the attack is described as white, in his early 20s, 5ft 11in tall with ginger or dyed blond spiky hair, spots on his chin and was wearing a green or black paisley patterned shirt.

A spokesman for Eldridge Pope, owners of the Toad at the Picture House pub, said the company deeply regretted the incident.

"The staff on duty that night have volunteered to assist the police to ensure those concerned are brought to justice as quickly as possible," he said.

"The young lady had been found by door staff during their regular checks of the toilets and management immediately called for an ambulance to assist her.

"They then called the police."

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