Police hunting a rapist who attacked a woman in an underpass have appealed for a dog walker to help trace him.
The “horrific” incident, which took place in the Craigshill area of Livingston in the early hours of Saturday morning, has left a community stunned. The 28-year-old victim was taking her own dog for a walk, having returned from a night out when she was attacked between 3.20am and 3.45am as she cut through an underpass at Grange Road at the east side of Perth Street.
She returned home before going to St John’s Hospital, where she was treated for cuts and bruises. Police have now urged the owner of two dark-coloured Labradors seen in the area to come forward.
Detective Inspector Matt Paden said: “The victim had returned home from a night out in West Lothian and had taken her dog out for a walk. She was not aware of him [the rapist] being in the area until the moment she was attacked.
“It’s difficult to say whether the attacker had been waiting in the underpass or whether he has just happened upon her.”
The suspect is described as being white, with a small build, between 25-40-years-old, with collar-length black/brown hair and was wearing a dark-coloured fleece, a dark-coloured beanie hat with a silver line, and white canvas trainers.
He spoke with a Scottish accent and smelt strongly of body odour and alcohol.
DI Paden said: “Fortunately, stranger rape is very rare, but for this type of incident to take place, obviously we would encourage people to consider their personal safety when they are out and about.
“This has been a horrific attack for the victim to endure and she is now being offered all the support and assistance she requires from Lothian and Borders Police.”
Police are following a number of lines of inquiry, including checking CCTV footage and door-to-door inquiries, and have put more patrols on the streets in a bid to reassure the public.
Craigshill councillor Carl John said: “This has been a shock to the community – it’s very disturbing when something like this happens.”
Anyone with any information can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.