Queens Gardens rape sparks police appeal

Last updated 08:24 07/02/2013
Queens Gardens
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
DANGER ZONE: The area in Queen’s Gardens where a teen was raped early on Sunday.

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Police hunt Queens Gardens rapist

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Police have received a small number of calls following Tuesday's public appeal for help after the reported rape of a young woman in Queen's Gardens.

They were still interested in hearing from people who may have seen anything at the time of the rape in the early hours of Sunday, or who were with the victim during the night.

Detective Sally McBride, of Nelson, said the 18-year-old woman left the Little Rock Bar in Bridge St shortly after 1am on Sunday, and walked towards the Suter Gallery.

The woman stopped to call a taxi, but was grabbed from behind before she was able to make the call. She was dragged down a path into Queen's Gardens, near the public toilets, where she was raped.

Ms McBride said the attack did not last long as the offender appeared to have been frightened by the sound of people walking and laughing in the area.

The victim was able to call a taxi when the offender ran off, and was picked up about 1.20am.

Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge, of Nelson, said the victim reported the attack on Sunday, after she got home.

He said a forensic examination kit would be sent to ESR for analysis this week, to help identify the offender.

The victim was interviewed on Sunday morning, soon after reporting the attack, and completed an in-depth evidential interview on Monday. Mr Langridge said she would receive ongoing support from Sexual Abuse Support and Healing (SASH).

Police would like to hear from anyone who was in the Queen's Gardens area at the time, who may have seen either the victim or the offender.

The offender was described as Caucasian with pale skin, about 5ft 5in (1.6m), with very short, cropped hair.

He was skinny, about 20 to 25 years old, and wearing a light black T-shirt and black jeans.

The victim believed he may have had a lip piercing.

Mr Langridge said while the police did not want to "scaremonger", attacks on women did happen, particularly when they were isolated from their friends.

"As much as we'd like to think that sort of thing doesn't happen, you need to safeguard yourself.

"Stick together, identify safe routes to take home, and stay in lit areas.

"Don't let your friends walk home alone," he said.

On New Year's Day a 62-year-old woman was brutally assaulted and raped at the Victory Community Gardens. Nelson fisheries worker Hilton Hone Heke has been charged with a number of offences in relation to the rape and assault.

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  • Anyone with information relevant to the Queen's Gardens investigation should call Nelson police on 03 546 3840. Anonymous information can also be given through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Nelson

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