'Port Hills groper' targeting women

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 11:45 21/01/2013
Port Hills tracks
John Kirk-Anderson

TRACKS: Women using the Port Hills tracks have been assaulted by a mystery groper.

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A man labelled the "Port Hills groper" has been assaulting women on the Port Hills.

Women exercising alone in the hills have been grabbed by the man, who attempted to grope, kiss or hug them.

Jordan Ryan-Pears, 20, was running with her dog on the Port Hills last month when the man stopped her.

"He asked if he could pat my dog and I just thought he was a nice old man. He patted the dog, then he lunged at me and kissed my cheek," she said.

"He put his tongue against my cheek and licked me and hugged me, grabbing my breasts."

Ryan-Pears panicked, pushing the man off and running away.

The experience was "very frightening".

"I used to go up there every day, but I haven't been up since," she said.

It was about noon when the man grabbed her at a point when no-one was around.

"Usually there are heaps of people up there, but this time I was alone," she said.

A 46-year-old Huntsbury woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, had been warned by her neighbour that there was a man who had been groping walkers on the Port Hills.

On Saturday morning she was running on the Huntsbury Track, near the Summit Road, when a man approached her and tried to hug her.

"He said 'lovely, lovely' to the dog I was running with and patted him, then suddenly switched to 'lovely, lovely' me and lunged at me," she said.

"Only then did I click that he was the Port Hills groper I'd been warned about."

The woman managed to sidestep the man and get away, but she was "shaken" by the incident and warned another woman who was walking alone in the area.

"Her face turned to horror when I gave a description of the man,'' she said.

''She said she had encountered the same guy on the Port Hills recently.

''He had grabbed her by the arm and tried to kiss her. She resisted and was very spooked by the experience."

Ryan-Pearson said the man had yelled "inappropriate comments" to her female flatmate on one occasion. 

A police spokesman said they had not received any complaints about the man.

The women described the man as of Asian or Indian descent,  between 50 and 60 years old, and of a short and stocky build, with black hair.

"His speech is quite garbled. He's very smiley and friendly-looking and his smile is gummy," the Huntsbury woman said.

"I'm sure he has been targeting other women on the tracks. I've been using the Port Hill tracks, often running on my own, for nearly 20 years and it's the first time I've had trouble."

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- The Press

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