A SINISTER rapist used a devious ploy to lure his victim to a secluded spot where he could assault her, detectives have revealed.
The attacker spotted his target as she waited at a tram stop in Sheffield - and shouted over to her that he needed help.
When the trusting woman walked innocently towards him and asked him what was wrong, he gripped her by the arm before dragging her into bushes where he raped her.
The terrified woman, who is 40 years old, lost her shoes and purse in the assault - and was saved only after standing desperately in the middle of the road to flag down a passing taxi to get away.
Today detectives urged anyone with information to get in touch urgently.
Detective Inspector Phil Etheridge said: “This is a stranger rape. The offender was not known to her. We would urge anyone with information to come forward in confidence, and provide us with names.”
The woman was waiting at the Bamforth Street tram stop in Hillsborough when she heard the man shouting for help.
“She had been out with a friend at a local public house, The Masons,” said DI Etheridge. “She tried to make her way home and ended up at the Bamforth Street tram stop.
“The offender, who was not known to her, beckoned her up some steps from the tram stop to Langsett Crescent by saying, ‘Can you help me?’.
“He asked her to walk up the steps to where he was.
“Then he grabbed hold of her arm and dragged her into nearby bushes where she was subjected to rape.”
Police said the ordeal lasted up to 10 minutes and has left the victim traumatised.
But despite her terror the brave woman has helped police by revisiting the crime scene and surrounding streets with officers in the hope she may spot her attacker, and putting together an e-fit image of the man’s face.
He was around 6ft tall, possibly Asian, and had slightly wavy jet black hair down to his jaw line, parted in the middle.
After the attack, DI Etheridge said, the victim was taken to Parson Cross by the taxi driver.
But when she realised that her money was missing, rather than admitting to the driver that she had been raped, she asked him to pull over and wait, and then she ran off.
Detectives are keen to speak to the driver - who may believe his fare simply ran away without paying - about what he may have seen or heard.
DI Etheridge said such attacks are not common in South Yorkshire.
“There have been no other incidents in the area, and we are not linking this to anything else,” he said. “They are rare in this area.”
Officers spent yesterday carrying out house-to-house inquiries on the Langsett estate, asking local residents if they had seen or heard anything on the night of the rape.
Anyone with information about the attack - at 10.30pm on Saturday - should call South Yorkshire Police on 0114 220 2020 and quote incident number 331 of Sunday, September 25, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.