Police have dropped an investigation into a report that a woman was raped in a churchyard in Oxfordshire.
Thames Valley Police had previously launched an appeal for information following the reported incident in the town of Witney on Sunday morning.
The force had initially said that a woman in her 20s walking along Church Green just after 1.30am had been taken by a man she didn’t know into the grounds of St Mary’s Church and raped.
However, on Monday afternoon, the force said that, following “an immediate and thorough investigation”, it is no longer looking into the report.
Thames Valley Police said: “Extensive enquiries have been undertaken since the initial report, and we are now in a position to confirm that we are no longer investigating an incident of rape, and that no other investigations in relation to this incident are taking place.”
Superintendent Emma Garside, local policing commander for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, said: “We received a report of a rape and commenced an immediate urgent investigation into the alleged incident.
“However, following a thorough examination of CCTV footage in the local area, as well as speaking to potential witnesses, we are now satisfied that the incident has not occurred as reported.
“We would like to reassure the people of Witney that we took the initial report very seriously and deployed a number of resources into investigating the report as a priority, including placing a scene watch in the area of St Mary’s Church.
“It would not be helpful to speculate as to the reasons of the initial report, but I would like to thank the public and local community for coming forward to support information which supported this investigation.
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“As a result of our investigation, at this stage, we are no longer appealing for further information.
“The reported incident understandably caused a great deal of community concern.
“Attacks such as initially reported are mercifully rare and will always be treated extremely seriously and thoroughly investigated, and would reiterate my thanks to the local community for coming forward with information.”
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