A WOMAN was attacked and raped in a ‘vicious assault’ in a Basildon underpass.

A 26-year-old woman was followed and attacked by a man of the same age at the underpass behind Basildon Magistrates’ Court, under Broadmayne, just after 11pm on Friday night.

She was taken to hospital with injuries after her head hit the floor during the assault, and forensic teams are currently down on the scene now, with the underpass cordoned off.

Detective Inspector Richard Sage, from the sexual offences investigation team at Essex Police, said: "This was a nasty, vicious assault on a young woman which has left her injured and very distressed.

“I need to find the man who did this as soon as possible and urge anyone who thinks that they may have information or believes that they may know who is responsible.”

The 26-year-old woman had been with friends at The Beehive pub in Basildon town centre, and then went for a meal at the Moon on the Square.

She started walking home at 11pm and was aware of someone behind her as she approached the underpass where she was attacked.

He pushed her to the ground and raped her, and stole her handbag – but this has been recovered.

The man is described as white, around 5ft 9-10 tall, skinny build, aged around his mid-20s with blonde/light brown hair.

He had an English accent and was wearing a hoody and jeans. He ran off towards The Gore and the Pitsea area.

Police have urged people to come forward with information on the assault.

They can call detectives at Basildon on 101 or get in touch with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.