More details of alleged sex attack revealed
An intruder who attacked a Christchurch woman in her home claimed to have been there to inspect storm damage, police have revealed.
Police today released more details of the alleged sex attack in Sockburn shortly before 10.50am on Tuesday, including an updated description of the offender.
The woman, a young mother of two in her 20s, was at home with her 7-month-old baby, police said.
Her other child was not at home at the time.
"The offender has knocked on her door and spoken to the victim, claiming to be at the address to inspect storm damage. We do not believe he claimed to be representing any particular organisation," Detective Senior Sergeant Darryl Sweeney said.
"He talked his way into the residence, and threatened and assaulted the woman. The baby was not harmed in the incident."
The offender was described as:
- Maori or Polynesian, aged in his late 40s, tall and of stocky build
- He has a large nose with some red markings
- He has a slightly bushy moustache and dark, mop-like hair almost to his eyebrows and covering his ears
- He is believed to be missing one or two teeth on one side of his mouth - not the two front teeth as previously advised
- At the time of the incident he was reported to be wearing an orange sleeveless hi-visibility vest with a silver reflector strip around the waist area, light blue straight-cut jeans and white sneakers.
"It appears that the offender was only at the property for a short period of time before leaving, and we do not know in what direction he travelled or his mode of transport," Sweeney said.
"The victim then called emergency services, who arrived at the scene promptly."
Police have been hunting for the offender around the clock since the incident, but no arrest has been made.
Sweeney said police still had no idea whether the attack was random, planned or opportunist, but were confident the updated description of the offender would give "added momentum" to the investigation.
Police had received a huge number of nominations from the public, and were compiling a list of known offenders who could be of interest to the investigation.
Although there was initially some suggestion the attacker may have had a dog with him, that was not established, Sweeney said.
"We want to know about any suspicious activity, incidents or anything out of the ordinary that people may have noticed during the past few weeks in the Sockburn and Upper Riccarton areas and the surrounding south-western suburbs," he said.
"If anyone recalls seeing a man of similar description, or if they have had people knocking at their door asking about storm damage, or any other accounts of unusual activity, people or vehicles, please get in touch with police as soon as possible."
He said the incident was "very serious".
A forensic scene examination at the woman's address was now complete and about 30 police staff were working on the investigation.
Officers had also been dropping leaflets into letterboxes seeking information and today would broaden the area in which they were talking to residents.
Acting District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said residents could be assured police were putting all available resources into apprehending the offender.
"Offences such as this are very rare in Christchurch, and there's no evidence to suggest that anybody else is at risk," he said.
"Our investigation teams are working day and night on this case, and I have made additional patrol staff available to ensure that we have a strong, visible presence."
McGregor said people should always check the credentials of any contractor or trades person knocking on their door.
"A hi-vis jacket is no guarantee of authenticity. Representatives of genuine agencies and organisations will always carry appropriate identification," he said.
"If the visitor is not someone you know, always quiz the person, ask to see their identification, and if you have any doubts at all, telephone the organisation to check that the caller is genuine."
Police had decided not to release a computer-generated sketch of the offender.
The victim was being well-supported by her family, Sweeney said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 363 7400. People can also provide information anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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