'Blitz attack' by assailant who tied up and assaulted Dunedin runner

HAMISH McNEILLY/Stuff.co.nz

Detective Sergeant Kallum Croudis fronts a media conference on Dunedin attack

Dunedin police have finished their scene examination at the Ross Creek reservoir site where a man lay in wait before a "blitz" attack on a female runner on Monday night.

They have also released a photo of the full-length athletic "skins" they believe the attacker was wearing.

The 23-year-old woman was attacked from behind and knocked to the ground, tied up, and sexually assaulted in the attack northwest of the central city about 9.15pm on Monday, Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis said.

Police have placed cordons around the scene at the Ross Creek walking track.
HAMISH MCNEILLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Police have placed cordons around the scene at the Ross Creek walking track.

"It was a blitz-type attack from behind." 

The man fled after a dog ran up to them, which surprised the assailant who took off.

Police have launched a large investigation with a team of more than 20 detectives, uniformed officers and specialist forensic staff involved in the operation.

The cordoned off scene of an assault in Dunedin.
HAMISH MCNEILLY/FAIRFAX NZ

The cordoned off scene of an assault in Dunedin.

They are pursuing several leads, but declined to comment further.

The scene would remain cordoned off on Tuesday as staff continued a scene examination. 

The woman was a "sporadic" runner in the area, and he believed the attack was random.

The cordoned off scene of an assault in Dunedin.
Hamish McNeilly

The cordoned off scene of an assault in Dunedin.

"She is obviously traumatised."

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Crimes of this nature were rare in Dunedin and until an offender was brought to justice, Croudis said he was "very concerned about the nature and the type of attack it was".

He declined to comment on the item she was bound with, but confirmed she was able to free herself before seeking help at a nearby address.

Nearby residents heard her yelling out for help after the incident, he said.

People were asked to avoid the area so they did not compromise any potential evidence while the search continued.

Police wanted to hear from anyone who might have seen a man in the Ross Creek area between 7pm and 10pm on Monday.

The man was described as European, tall, of a skinny build and of an undetermined age.

He was believed to have been wearing black shoes, a black t-shirt, and a pair of black "skins" with white writing.

Police had spoken to the owner of a dog who was in the area at the time of the attack, but wanted to speak with anyone else walking a light-coloured dog, possibly a labrador.

They were also asking anyone else who was near Ross Creek at the time, or who saw a man acting suspiciously, to come forward.

Those with information were asked to call the Dunedin central police station on 03 471 4800.

Alternatively, information could also be passed on anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 - Stuff

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