Teenager faces two rape charges
JOELLE DALLY AND OLIVIA CARVILLE AND BLAIR ENSOR
An 18-year-old charged with the rape and abduction of an 11-year-old girl has been granted name suppression during a brief appearance in Christchurch District Court this morning.
The man, from Loburn, is also charged with the rape of a 17-year-old woman.
He was remanded in custody without plea to appear again, likely by video link, in the court on November 4.
The man was granted name suppression because of "health issues", Judge Raoul Neave said.
The man's lawyer said: "He has had a [psycological] assessment and there's some risk to himself at this stage."
No application was made for bail.
It is understood the 11-year-old was at a playground with friends at 9.30am when she was abducted and raped, then left on the side of a rural North Canterbury road.
The incident - one of two sex attacks allegedly linked to the same man within 10 hours - has shocked residents in the town where the girl was taken. She was later found by members of public on a roadside.
The man charged with her rape has also been charged with the rape of a 17-year-old woman just hours earlier in a car in Pound Rd behind Christchurch Airport. The alleged attack was about midnight Saturday, police say.
Police said the man arrested was involved in a high-speed pursuit in North Canterbury, which ended when he smashed a car into a power pole in Birch Hill Rd, Loburn, about 11am.
Witnesses were amazed he survived the impact, which snapped the power pole and broke his vehicle, a 1999 Subaru Legacy saloon, into three parts.
He was treated at Christchurch Hospital for minor injuries before being taken into custody.
Stewart said last night he understood the girl was playing with friends when she was abducted, but said police were yet to establish if adults were present.
Local resident Stuart Priddy said the incident was "disconcerting". The town was close-knit and considered to be safe.
"I just hope she is safe and well," he said.
Stewart said the accused man was known to the 17-year-old victim.
Police recovered a white 1990 Nissan Primera saloon in relation to that incident.
Stewart said police were yet to establish how the man came into contact with the 11-year-old.
The two victims did not know each other.
Stewart said yesterday's pursuit started after police went to pull over a different car, which matched a description given by witnesses to the alleged abduction.
Andy Abernethy was biking along Birch Hill Rd when the alleged offender sped past with two police cars in pursuit.
"He was going far too fast. The next thing the cops came screaming up behind him and I thought 'Good old cops, they've caught him'," he said.
About 800 metres ahead, Abernethy saw a "flash of light".
The car had flown through the middle of the pole and shorn it into two pieces, ripping a 2m chunk out of the middle but leaving a stump still in the ground and a "big piece dangling from the power lines", Abernethy said.
Philip Worters, who lives beside the crash site, said a piece of the power pole flew 50m, while the man's car had come to a stop 500m away.
"The power pole was hit at great speed and the car was absolutely stuffed," he said.
Another witness said the car was estimated to have been travelling up to 155kmh.
Stewart urged anyone who saw the blue Subaru Legacy saloon in North Canterbury, or the white Nissan Primera saloon in and around Christchurch Airport, to phone police.
The incidents were being treated as unrelated to last month's home invasion where a young mother was attacked in her Sockburn home, he said.
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