Prostitutes attacked, one raped

BLAIR ENSOR AND NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 16:11 07/03/2014
Cordon on Manchester St
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ

INVESTIGATION UNDER WAY: Police at the scene of last night's assault on the grounds of the St Mary's Pro-Cathedral on Manchester St.

Police probe Christchurch rape
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
CRIME SCENE: Police on the grounds of the Catholic Church in Manchester St, Christchurch, where a woman was attacked.

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Prostitutes working in central Christchurch will be nervous about going to work tonight after two assaults in the city, including a reported rape, the industry's watchdog says.

Cordons were in place around two separate scenes this morning, including the site of a serious sexual attack on Bealey Ave, between Manchester and Madras streets about 3am today.

A second assault was reported on Manchester St about 5am, in the grounds of the St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, next to St Mary's School.

Both assaults were against sex workers and police were working to establish whether they were connected.

Police said no-one had been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Prostitutes Collective regional coordinator Anna Reed said she had spoken to the victim of the sexual assault who was ''not doing very well''.

Reed believed the attack was random and prostitutes who frequented Manchester St would be nervous about going to work tonight.

''A collective shudder goes by whenever anything like this happens,'' she said. 

Earlier today, Reed said she was shocked to learn of the attacks this morning.

"It's unbelievable. I'm quite numb at this especially after what's been going on in the last three weeks in court."

Reed said she'd heard reports of "low-grade violence" on the streets in recent times but "nothing to this extent".

"We haven't had anything of this nature for a long, long time - probably since Mellory [Manning]."

Detective Sergeant Richard Quested said investigators were reviewing footage from CCTV cameras in the area.

Each victim had been able to provide a partial description of their attacker, he said.

Neither suffered serious physical injuries. Police hope to formally interview at least one of them this afternoon. 

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- The Press

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