Hopes CCTV will identify Lower Hutt knife-point sex attacker

CAMERON BURNELL/Dominion Post.

Detective Sergeant Nick Pritchard of Hutt Valley CIB asks for the public's assistance to identify a man who attacked a woman in broad daylight yesterday near the Hutt River.

Police are combing CCTV footage hoping to finding footage of the man who sexually attacked a woman at knifepoint by Hutt River in broad daylight.

The victim was held at knifepoint, dragged into bushes and physically and sexually assaulted at about 1pm last Thursday in Lower Hutt. Police have said it was an "isolated incident," but the attacker remained at large. 

Hutt Valley CIB has 15 officers investigating the attack, Detective Sergeant Nick Pritchard said. The attack was a particularly nasty one and police have boostedpatrols thethe Melling Bridge area. 

Detectives were continuing towork through the CCTV footage. If they found a man matching the victim's description of her attacker and he was not familar to police they planned to release his image publicly in hopes someone would recognise him. Pritchard said.

A police scene examination has been completed. The attacker, who was not known to his victim, did not leave anything at the scene. However, police had found the victim's glasses and they were being tested to determine whether the perpetrator left any identifying traces on them, Pritchard said.

The attack was "very brazen," Pritchard said last week.

"The victim was taken by surprise, she did not see the person until he was very close to her, was held at knifepoint, dragged into the bushes, and sexually and physically assaulted."

The attack happened as a woman in her early 30s went for a lunchtime walk.

The victim works in the area, knew the area well, and often went for walks at lunch, Pritchard said.

On Thursday she was walking on a path on the eastern side of the Hutt River, approximately 500 metres north of the Melling Bridge, when she was attacked.

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What made it particularly chilling was that the attacker made his move in broad daylight in a busy area, police said.

"This was an attack carried out in the middle of the day in a popular area, so it could not be foreseen," Pritchard said.

During the attack, the victim was also kicked in the head and stomped on, sustaining facial and other injuries.

Afterwards the man left the woman and fled the scene. 

She had undergone a medical examination and treatment, and she was recovering at home, Pritchard said on Tuesday.

"She's holding up well under the circumstances. She's got good family support."

He added that there had not been any similar incidents around the Hutt Valley in recent times and last Thursday's attack appeared to be an "isolated incident."

Police were appealing to the public to come forward with any information about the attacker, who is described as being a man of slim to average build, with light brown skin, aged in his 20s.

He was wearing a  black long-sleeve top, knee-length shorts, a hat and also gloves, possibly fingerless.

Some people had already contacted police with information matching the person of interest, Pritchard said.

Anyone with information can contact Hutt Valley Police on 04 560 2600, or anonymously via the organisation CrimeStoppers, ph 088 555 111.

 - Stuff

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