"Forever thankful to Northumbria Police" - victim of Rising Sun attack praises officers for professionalism and dedication
31 Aug | 10:58

The brave victim of an horrendous sexual assault has penned a heartfelt letter of thanks to officers for the support she has received.

Back in March, a woman in her 60s was walking through the Rising Sun Country Park, when she was attacked by an unknown man, who later fled the scene and stole her mobile phone.

Thankfully, the victim was able to get help and contacted police to report what had happened – and a major investigation was launched.

Within three days, the offender had been identified as Alan Rothwell, found, arrested and charged.

Appearing at Newcastle Crown Court he pleaded guilty to kidnap, attempted rape, two counts of sexual assault and robbery.

The 34-year-old, of no fixed abode, was subsequently given an extended sentence of 14 years and nine months – with a judge stating he must serve at least eight years behind bars.

Following the sentencing, Rothwell’s victim, who received specialist support from officers and staff in Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department, penned a letter of thanks, praising the hard work, professionalism and response she received.

She has agreed to it being shared in the hope it will help give other victims of sexual offences confidence to come forward.

It reads: “As the victim in the Rising Sun attack, I would like to express my huge gratitude to all the members of Northumbria Police who came to my assistance that day.

“The response to my 999 call immediately after the attack was swift and reassuring.

“Unfortunately, I cannot remember all the names of the officers who I came into contact with but they were all professional and kind.

“Due to all the hard work and prompt action of the police, I was amazed and relieved when they were able to arrest the attacker within three days of this awful incident. I was particularly thankful he was off the streets and unable to harm anyone else.

“Also, the fact he was caught and charged so quickly was a great relief. 

“When he pleaded guilty to the offences I was once again grateful that the evidence was so strong I wouldn’t have to face court at a much later date.

“Finally, to have the sentence passed on July 7 and know this person will be in prison for at least eight years was a massive relief for me and my family. And all this happened within 15 weeks which was amazing.

“Throughout this ordeal I have had wonderful support from Northumbria Police and will always be very thankful for their dedication and professionalism.

“I was clearly very unlucky on that day to come across this person who was determined to attack someone, but I think my recovery will be greatly aided by the swift outcome.”

Detective Chief Inspector Shelley Hudson, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, said she hopes the words shared by the victim in this case will encourage other victims of sexual offences, who may not yet have come forward, confidence to do so knowing that they will be heard and supported.

She said: “The bravery the victim showed throughout the investigation and court proceedings – and continues to display to this day – has been remarkable.

“Thanks to her courage, and the unwavering professionalism of the officers those involved in the investigation we were able to identify the offender quickly and put them before the court.

“Incidents of this nature are thankfully rare in our Force area, however when such offences do occur we are here to support victims and are committed to bringing those responsible to justice.

“I would urge anyone who has been the victim of any form of sexual offence to come forward – we are here for you, we will listen and we will support you.”

To disclose any form of sexual abuse, visit our website’s ‘Tell us Something’ page, call 101 or 999 in an emergency.

back to top