Nelson rape accused in court
A 22-year-old man has made a brief appearance in court this afternoon in connection with the rape of a 62-year-old woman at the Victory Community Gardens on New Year's Day.
He was remanded in custody to appear again in the Nelson District Court tomorrow.
An order for name suppression was granted until 10am tomorrow.
Judge Chris Tuohy said defence lawyer Tony Bamford requested a short remand on the basis that "substantial progress" might be made tomorrow.
Judge Tuohy said the interim order suppressing his name was made because he agreed with the argument presented that publication of the defendant's name would "create a real risk that it could prejudice a fair trial", if it came to that.
Judge Tuohy said the basis for the application was that the defendant had information on his own social media site, and time was needed to remove that, and to remove other information that existed as a result of the information posted to the defendant's Facebook site.
The man has been charged with kidnapping, aggravated injuring, injuring with intent to injure, indecent assault and four counts of sexual violation.
Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge said the breakthrough came as a result of DNA evidence gathered which matched that of the man now in police custody.
He said the man was on the suspect list prior to the DNA match being discovered.
Langridge said the victim was very relieved to hear the news.
‘‘Her relief is shared by our entire investigation team who have put in some long hours since this terrible incident on New Year’s Day. I’m sure the people of Nelson will also be very relieved to know we have this man in custody.’’
Langridge said police were 'ecstatic' with the result. The man was arrested just before 8am today.
"The individual was on our suspect list," he said.
Langridge said the police had no trouble finding the man, and that the community was very pleased to know it was safe from this person.
He said a number on the investigation team said it was the most severe case they had worked on in their career in Nelson, which had not resulted in a death.
Langridge said he expected the investigation team would continue to make inquiries for some time yet, but police were not looking for anyothers in relation to the case at this time.
Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally praised the investigation team and the community.
"This crime was particularly heinous in nature and generated a great deal of emotion within the wider Nelson community and particularly within the Victory area. I would like to congratulate and thank Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge and his investigation team for the countless hours they invested to enable an arrest.
‘‘I would also like to thank members of the community for their assistance in resolving this matter. I have said it before, that police cannot work without the assistance of the community and we are very grateful for the support we get in Nelson Bays,’’ he said.