Police pleased with sex attack appeal response

Police have interviewed a 17-year-old Palmerston North man after a deluge of calls in response to an appeal for information about an alleged sex offender.

Detective Johnny Oram, who is leading the investigation, said calls were still coming in after CCTV footage of the lead-up and moments after the attack, which took place in Palmerston North's central city, aired on the Police Ten-7 television show.

The calls, numbering up to the 50s, had resulted in police identifying several witnesses, including identifying the 17-year-old.

Police say a man led a 23-year-old woman to a parking area between two commercial properties on Andrew Young St and sexually assaulted her soon after 2am on May 11.

The woman, who had become separated from her friend, began walking home from an inner city bar through The Square and onto Main St.

At the intersection of George and Main streets she was approached by the man who she had initially seen riding a mountain bike ahead of her.

The man had started walking with her as she continued along Main St, police said.

At the intersection of Andrew Young and Main streets, the man grabbed her hand and led her to the parking area where police say he assaulted her before leaving the area and walking back to where he had stashed his bike.

The woman was traumatised but uninjured, Oram said.

The Police Ten-7 show described the attack as "rape" and showed video footage of the man speaking and gesturing to people walking past Tomato Cafe, on George St, after the alleged attack.

"We are really pleased with the response generated from the appeal for assistance. I would like to thank all those who came forward with information. [It shows] the public are keen to help us with our inquiries. We still want to hear from anyone that may have any information and I encourage them to contact police," he said.

Anyone who knows the identity of the man or has any other information can contact Oram on 06 351 3877 or call the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

Manawatu Standard