Police Ten 7 seeks public help in case involving child pulled from Invercargill street

Invercargill detectives are hoping an appeal for information on Police Ten 7 tomorrow night will help find the person who sexually assaulted a young schoolgirl in the city last month.

The alleged assault on the intermediate-school-aged victim happened between 8am and 8.30am on Monday, February 4 as she was walking along Iona Street in the city.

"She was minding her own business when she was grabbed from behind, dragged into the nearby Iona Street playground and sexually assaulted," said Detective Aarron Dempsey of the Invercargill CIB.

“This was a terrifying ordeal and when the attacker became distracted, this young victim seized the chance to run away," he said. 

The person is described as slightly built, wearing a black hoodie, black beanie or cap, black or dark jeans and black shoes.

Detective Dempsey said police have made extensive inquiries in the area and, as a result, several people have reported seeing a similarly described person sitting near the playground on the morning of the attack.

“We’ve also heard from a member of the public who a few weeks before the assault saw a group of young girls talking with a person matching the description of the offender," he said. "The driver got out of her car and moved the girls along.

“We’d like to hear from that group of girls too as they may have very important information."

Police are urging people to watch Police Ten 7 at 7.30pm tomorrow on TVNZ2 to see if they have information which will help the victim and the investigation team.

The Invercargill case will also be shared from the Police Ten 7 Facebook page and the Southern Police District Facebook page once the episode has aired.

Map shows the Iona Street area in Invercargill where the 12-year-old girl was assaulted. Source: Google Maps