The woman was walking home through East Park when she was attacked by a man. The park is situated between the entrance to the city centre on Above Bar Street and the University of Southampton’s halls of residence, Orion’s Point. It has not yet been confirmed that the woman is a student.
The crime took place after the woman had refused to speak to the man. Police have said that she did not know her attacker.
Officers arrived at the crime scene just after 4am on Sunday morning and the area was immediately sealed off for the forensic examination. During the day Police and Community Support Officers were called in from all areas of Southampton.
At 7:35am this morning a 39-year-old man from Southampton was arrested in Brunswich Place. He remains in custody, but at this time police have not named the suspect.
The scene was still cordoned off this evening, with an increased number of officers manning the area and looking for evidence or witnesses to help the investigation.
Detective Inspector, Gary Touse, confirmed that there is no apparent link between this rape and any other sexual assaults that have been reported recently.
Detective Inspector Touse said: “Initial enquiries suggest that two members of the public helped the woman shortly after the sexual assault took place.
“I’m appealing for these witnesses to come forward as they may have information that is important to the investigation.”
Detectives are also appealing for any witnesses who noticed a man acting suspiciously in, or near, East Park in the early hours of the morning. The suspect was described as mixed race with facial stubble. He was wearing a hooded top.
If you have any information contact Southampton Central Police Station on 084504545101, quoting Operation President, or call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800555111.