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A GANG of youths dragged a screaming girl into a housing block stairwell and raped her, say police.
It is alleged that while the 13-year-old was being attacked, her 14-year-old friend was sexually assaulted.
The pair had chatted to some boys at the Elephant & Castle shopping centre and were lured to the nearby Heygate Estate.
The girls began to worry when the youths, aged between 16 and 20, tried to split them up.
When the 13-year-old was led to the stairwell of Claydon House, her pal cried out for help.
It is thought she may have called out to a passing couple who did not stop.
The alleged attacks, at around 6pm on Saturday, are being investigated by the Met’s Sapphire Unit, which deals with sex offences.
Speaking about the alleged rape, Detective Sergeant Rupert Bonny, of Southwark’s Sapphire Unit, said: “This was an absolutely horrendous attack on a young girl who has been left traumatised.”
DS Bonny said he was sure someone must have seen the group before or after the alleged attacks, and is appealing for witnesses.
He said the friend, 14, called out for help and police were keen for a male and a female who may have seen something to come forward.
He said: “We would also appeal to the boys involved to come forward.
“While they may have been involved, we understand that some may have played a less significant role.”
DS Bonny said the girls were white and the suspects were black.
The group walked through the shopping centre between 5.30pm and 6pm.
They would have headed out through the railway ticket hall and into New Kent Road where they entered the estate off Walworth Road.
Detective Inspector Kerry Pauling, of Southwark’s Sapphire Unit, has voiced concerns about the number of young girls being raped in the borough, often by teenage boys.
She said: “We are dealing with victims as young as 12 and 13. It’s a general disrespect for young women, and we are trying to get the message out that it will not give them street cred.”
(Posted on November 15, 2004)