Rape case: Victim to speak

Last updated 11:18 03/01/2013

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Police will today speak with the woman savagely beaten and raped at the Victory community gardens in Nelson on New Year's Day.

The 62-year-old woman was working alone in a shade house at the gardens when she was attacked about 2.30pm.

She remains in Nelson Hospital with substantial head and facial injuries, along with other cuts and bruising to her body.

Her injuries are not life-threatening, but police said today they had not yet been able to speak to her.Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge, of Nelson, said police would re-interview the woman today and hoped to get further detail that would identify the attacker.

Police have been canvassing households in the Victory area and ESR scientists conducted a scene investigation yesterday.

''Evidence has been sent away for urgent analysis,'' Langridge said.

Police were also continuing door-to-door canvassing of the neighbourhood and would maintain ''significant patrols'' in the area.

Langridge described it as a ''cowardly and prolonged attack'' on an older woman.

''While I am confident we will identify the offender, I must urge people in the Victory area to take precautions about their personal safety until we have that person in custody,'' he said.

Langridge said police were also looking into whether there was any connection with recent complaints about a rider of a moped-type scooter who was grabbing women from behind.

Police received four complaints in two weeks last month from women. The man struck three times on the Railway Reserve near Victory on December 10 and 11, and in Dorset St, Richmond.

Langridge said at this stage there was nothing to connect the two, other than the behaviour of the moped rider not being normal.

The scene where the woman was raped is visible from a section of the Railway Reserve and police believe it is likely people would have been using the walkway as the attack occurred.

They would like to speak to anyone who was on or near the Railway Reserve on New Year's Day about 2.30pm and who may have seen or heard something relevant.

The offender was described as dark skinned, possibly Maori or Polynesian, in his early 20s with short hair and distinctive tattoos.

His left arm was fully tattooed from the shoulder to the wrist in a Maori or tribal design. His right arm was tattooed from the shoulder to the elbow in what was believed to be a Maori or tribal design.

Langridge said police would have a significant presence in the Victory area until the offender was caught. He encouraged the offender to hand himself in.

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