Beach attacker not known to girl's family

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2013

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Police say the man who they allege indecently assaulted an 8-year-old girl in the sand dunes at Oreti Beach on Saturday afternoon was a stranger to the family.

A 20-year-old Invercargill man was charged in relation to the alleged indecent assault yesterday morning and appeared in the Invercargill District Court at 3pm.

Judge Kevin Phillips granted him interim name suppression and remanded him in custody without plea until February 12.

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Bowman said police had not yet properly interviewed the girl, given the stress of the circumstances. The girl was not from Invercargill and she was now at home, he said.

The alleged incident occurred in the sand dunes about 50 metres south of the main entrance to the beach about 4pm. Police yesterday appealed for anyone with information related to the incident to contact them and said they had received a number of calls from the public through the morning but were still asking for information from the public.

Mr Bowman said there had been no other reports of children being approached.

The alleged attacker had been alone and was not known to the girl's family, Mr Bowman said.

Any advice about keeping children safe was in no way a reflection on the girl's family, he said.

However, the attack was a reminder to parents to be mindful of where their children were at all times and for them to play in groups if possible.

Anyone with information can call Invercargill police on 03 211 0400 or provide information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- The Southland Times

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