News article


Update on police investigation following 1978 Plymouth rape

Efit composite no names.jpg

Police continue to appeal for information

Detectives in Devon and Cornwall continue to investigate a number of leads following an appeal for information into a rape of a teenage girl by a group of men, believed to be sportsmen, in Plymouth more than 40 years ago. 

Police are investigating the reported non-recent crimes against the 17-year-old who was subjected to multiple rapes by a number of men. It is believed they were visiting Plymouth from South Wales and were from a touring sports team; the offences took place on a Saturday in late January or early February in 1978 at the now closed Strathmore Hotel in Elliot Street.

Detective Superintendent Jo Hall, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “There has been a positive reaction from the public following the launch of our appeal last week. We have had a number of calls plus information reported online via our dedicated appeal page.

“These leads will be investigated and we will continue to work with partner forces as part of these enquiries. As yet there have been no arrests.

“The victim of these horrendous crimes deserves justice.  If you can help us identify the two men that we are seeking as witnesses, or you have any information that might assist us, no matter how small, I appeal to you to contact us.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Devon and Cornwall Police by calling the incident room on 0800 096 1233 if calling from the UK or internationally on 0207 158 0197, quoting crime reference number CR/023620/15.

You can also report online via a dedicated appeal page https://mipp.police.uk

Information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org. 


Incident took place in 1978

Detectives have released e-fit images of two witnesses who may hold vital information about the reported rape of a teenage girl by a group of men, believed to be sportsmen, in Plymouth more than 40 years ago.

Police are investigating the reported non-recent crimes against the 17-year-old who was subjected to multiple rapes by a number of men. It is believed they were visiting Plymouth from South Wales and were from a touring sports team.

The offences took place on a Saturday in late January or early February in 1978 at the now closed Strathmore Hotel in Elliot Street.

The victim and her friend had been out socialising in the Safari Club (now known as the Notte Inn) in Plymouth when they met a man, believed to be in his 20s. He said he was a maths teacher and was part of a sports team on tour from South Wales.

The girl left her friend and went with the teacher to his room at the Strathmore Hotel. Around an hour later a large group of men, believed to have been known to the teacher, barged into the room and the victim was subjected to multiple rapes. The men who committed the offence were all described as white, clean shaven and believed to be in their 20s.

Afterwards, during the early evening, the teacher and another man visited the Duke of Cornwall Hotel with the traumatised girl and her friend. Police are trying to trace these two men as vital witnesses and the victim has helped create e-fit images of them.

Detective Superintendent Jo Hall, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “I believe these men are the key to identifying the individuals who carried out this horrendous attack as it is clear that the group of men are known to each other.

“We must remember that these images are based on the men in 1978, over 40 years ago, so they would have changed considerably in that time and are likely to be in their 60s now. I would like to hear from anyone who recognises these men and I would remind the public that I am seeking these men as witnesses to a horrific crime upon a young female.”

As part of the investigation Devon and Cornwall Police are also appealing for the help of anyone who was working or staying at the hotel at the time of the offences:  

  • Did you work at the Strathmore Hotel in January/February 1978?
  • Did you stay at the Strathmore Hotel in January or February 1978?
  • Did you regularly visit the Strathmore Hotel at that time? 

Detective Supt Hall added: “These offences have had a significant impact upon the life of this woman and they remain with her to this day.


“Although this happened over 40 years ago there is every likelihood that allegiances have changed in that time and now is the time to do the right thing. If you recognise either of these men or have any information about these offences or who could have committed them please contact us. I need the help of the public to trace the men responsible.” 

Anyone with information is urged to contact Devon and Cornwall Police by calling the incident room on 0800 096 1233 if calling from the UK or internationally on 0207 158 0197, quoting crime reference number CR/023620/15.

You can also report online via a dedicated appeal page: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/50DC19M19-PO1

Information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org


Can you help?

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Or email or ring 101
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quoting the crime reference number or pass on information to Crimestoppers anonymously via their Anonymous Online Form or call them on 0800 555 111

To report crime / incidents please use the Crime reporting form

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