Please attribute to Detective Inspector Karen Bright, Counties Manukau CIB:
Police are continuing to investigate a serious incident in Tōtara Park on Tuesday, where a woman was sexually assaulted.
At around 10.25am, a woman was walking on the Puhinui Forrest Trail, which runs from Tōtara Park along the northern boundary of the Botanic Gardens.
The woman had stopped at a lookout point on the Puhinui Stream Forrest Trail, which is where the attack took place.
The woman received a laceration to her neck during the attack, which involved a knife.
Following this cowardly attack, the offender fled on foot and despite a swift Police response he remains outstanding.
Police acknowledge that this incident has been an incredibly distressing ordeal for the victim and we are ensuring there is support in place for her.
Understandably our community will be concerned by what has happened. Police reassure them that we are taking this incident incredibly seriously and our investigation team is working hard to apprehend the offender.
Everyone has the right to travel around the city, without fear of being the victim of a crime.
The Botanic Gardens and Tōtara Park are always busy with walkers and it is concerning that this offending occurred in broad daylight.
We ask the community remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity immediately.
Police are also releasing a further description of the offender and we ask the public to come forward if they have information that could assist in identifying this male.
He is described as being in his 20s or early 30s, of chubby build, with facial tattoos. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a blue t-shirt and black shorts.
Police would like to hear from anyone who may have been in that area between 8am and 11.30am on 17 January, as they may have seen something of relevance to the investigation.
We are also interested in hearing from anyone who may have been taking photographs, or has video footage in the area of the Botanical Gardens or Tōtara Park between the relevant times.
Anyone with information should contact Police via our 105 phone service or online at https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105 using ‘Update My Report’. Please reference file number 230117/3643.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://www.crimestoppers-nz.org/
Sinelle Fernandez/NZ Police