4 Jan 2017

New Year's attacker searched tents for lone woman - police

12:10 pm on 4 January 2017

A man who attacked a sleeping woman at a Gisborne campground in the early hours of the New Year broke into several tents, seeking out a lone woman to prey on, say police.

The attacker was chased away by other campers who heard her screams, shortly after midnight on New Year's Day.

The 24-year-old woman fought back and bit the arm and hand of her attacker.

The incident happened at the A&P Showgrounds Campground on Main Road at 12.20am on New Year's Day.

Police said they believed the attack was sexually motivated.

Detective Sergeant Stephen Smith said other campers heard the disturbance and came to the woman's assistance.

"The man was chased off by campers and got into a light-coloured vehicle through a passenger door."

The man escaped in a SUV or people mover, which had arrived with two or more people around midnight.

Other campers reported that property had been stolen from their tents, and Mr Smith said the break-ins at the other tents may also have been sexually motivated.

"There was at least one other tent where he has made a comment which would lead us to believe he may have been looking for someone on their own."

The victim, who was not from Gisborne and had now returned home, had received medical attention and was being supported by friends and family, victim support and the police.

Mr Smith said: "This was a very serious and traumatic experience for the victim being attacked in this manner and Police are appealing for anyone who may know who did this to come forward."

He appealed to the public for information to identify the vehicle and the men involved.

The attacker was described as having a slim or athletic build and was in his late teens or early twenties, and may have visible bite marks.

The vehicle left the campground via Main Road and driven towards the city, which was a short distance from the campground.

Police would also like to speak to any other witnesses or campers who had property taken from the campground.

Information can be reported to Gisborne Police Station on (06) 831 0700, or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.