Shock as young woman is raped in Horndean parkland attack

Police sealed off the area near Merchistoun Hall in Horndean after a woman was raped Picture: Jay Kay
Police sealed off the area near Merchistoun Hall in Horndean after a woman was raped Picture: Jay Kay
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A councillor has expressed his horror after the rape of a young woman at Horndean.

Two men have been arrested after the attack on the 23-year-old, which happened in the grounds of community centre Merchistoun Hall. The incident has sent shockwaves through the village.

The community’s thoughts are very much with the young lady concerned and her family

Guy Shepherd

Neighbours awoke on Sunday morning to find the parkland around the large Georgian mansion in Portsmouth Road taped off and full of police officers.

Councillor Guy Shepherd, who represents Horndean on East Hampshire District Council, said he was shocked to discover what had taken place.

He added: ‘Without question, it’s an awful thing to have happened.

‘I was very saddened to hear about it.

‘I understand police are talking to two people at the moment.

‘The community’s thoughts are very much with the young lady concerned and her family.’

The attack happened around 1.40am on Sunday in the grounds of Merchistoun Hall which is home to the busy Horndean Community Association. It is often used for weddings and parties over the weekend although there had been no events on the evening prior to the attack.

In a statement Sandra Lynes, chairman of the HCA Trustees, said: ‘HCA is fully co-operating with the police.

‘As such, we cannot make any comment on the incident that took place in the grounds of the hall in the early hours of Sunday.

‘We would like to reassure our users and visitors that Merchistoun Hall remains a safe and family-friendly venue to visit’.

The HCA was open as usual on Sunday.

Caroline Burnett, from Rowlands Castle, spoke as she picked her grandson up from playgroup yesterday.

She said: ‘It’s an awful thing to happen anywhere but feels even worse when it’s so close to home.

‘It’s just dreadful’.

Hampshire Constabulary confirmed a 36-year-old man and a 45-year-old man, both from Waterlooville, were arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in the grounds of Merchistoun 
Hall.

Both were bailed until December 15.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101.