Profiling help sought after sex attacks

Police have turned to the Criminal Profiling Unit in Auckland for insights into two attacks on women in the Queen's Gardens vicinity.

The unit advises what crime scenes and methods of offending say about offenders, and likely aspects of their backgrounds.

Detective Sergeant Lex Bruning said the last time the profiling unit was approached by Nelson police was after the rape of a 62-year-old woman at the Victory Community Gardens on New Year's Day.

"It's not common. We started that process with regards to the one in Victory, but obviously we were able to locate the offender before they were able to complete their process."

Mr Bruning said police had given the unit information about the latest two attacks, and were waiting to see if it could help.

"We provide them with the information we have gathered from the investigation, and they review it to see if they can provide any assistance."

Mr Bruning said the profiling unit was not used by Nelson police very often, because offenders were usually known to their victims.

"What's uncommon in Nelson is this stranger-type sexual attack. Usually there's some form of association between the two parties."

Police worked through the weekend investigating the two sexual assaults that occurred in the Bridge St area of Nelson last week. Area inquiries have been completed, and detectives are liaising with forensic scientists at ESR to analyse evidence gathered.

An 18-year-old woman was raped near Queen's Gardens on Sunday, February 3, and a woman in her 40s was attacked near Normanby Bridge last Thursday evening.

Mr Bruning said some information came in from the public on the weekend, but it was nothing significant.

Police would still like to hear from anyone who had been approached by a man who was acting suspiciously in the Bridge St area of town in recent weeks.

The offender in the attack on the woman in her 40s was described as Caucasian, about 170cm (5ft 7in) tall.

He was of medium build, with short hair, and was thought to be in his 20s. He was wearing dark blue, baggy jeans which had a tear on the seat, and a grey, long-sleeved, zip-up hoodie.

On February 3, about 1am, an 18-year-old was grabbed from behind, dragged into the Queen's Gardens area and raped.

Mr Bruning said police would still like to hear from anyone with information relating to the attacks. Anyone with information is asked to call Nelson police, 546 3840, or anonymously call Crimestoppers, 0800 555 111.

The Nelson Mail