A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of rape after an 18-year-old woman was assaulted.
It happened outdoors at Gunwharf Quays at 2am yesterday morning and police and forensics were at the retail centre in Portsmouth following the attack.
Officers are investigating and arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of rape at 9.45am yesterday.
A worker at Gunwharf Quays, who did not want to be named, contacted The News and said police cordoned off an area from the taxi rank to the rear of the Vans shop until around 1pm yesterday.
He said forensics officers were present and centre staff were cleaning up the area at the popular retail outlet, which also has a nightclub and casino, after police left.
‘It was all sealed off with police tape,’ he said.
‘There was a riot van in the loading area just outside.’
He added police spoke to shop staff in the area who had worked there on Thursday night.
‘People are quite angry and quite upset knowing what happened out there,’ he added.
It was reported that a sensor operating security lights around the area where police cordoned off yesterday was not working on the night and that a door leading to the back of the shops was not closed.
A shopping centre spokeswoman said the light sensor was not working for a ‘short time’, including on Friday morning.
Workers were seen fixing the security light yesterday.
University of Portsmouth student Mohammed Garba, 18, lives near the cordoned-off area.
He said: ‘I have never heard of anything like this. I did not think this happens in Portsmouth. It’s really safe here.’
Ahmed Sunni, 23, also lives near the scene and added: ‘I didn’t expect this kind of thing. There are security guards here and the area’s secured.’
The suspect was held at Fratton police station and questioned.
A police spokeswoman said: ‘I can confirm that the victim is being supported by specialist officers and that an area at Gunwharf was sealed off and examined.
‘The man has been released on bail until March.’
Jack Busby is the centre director at Gunwharf Quays.
He said: ‘We are co-operating with the police.
‘We take the safety and security of our visitors very seriously and have a comprehensive night time system of 24/7 CCTV, health and safety checks, full centre security patrols, centre perimeter checks and a 24/7 manned control room.
‘We can confirm that a comprehensive check of lighting and security has been undertaken and we can assure visitors that all systems are fully functional.’