Victim's family 'thrilled' suspect arrested in sex assault case

By Corey Charlton

The family of an 87-year-old woman attacked in her Hastings home last week are thrilled police have arrested and charged a man for the attack, her son says.

A 27-year-old man, arrested for the sexual assault on the pensioner on Thursday last week, was yesterday granted interim name suppression at his appearance in the Hastings District Court.

The Hastings man was arrested earlier yesterday and is charged with burglary, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and unlawful sexual connection.

He entered no plea to the charges.

Judge Jonathan Down declined a media application to photograph the alleged offender and made an order for interim suppression of his name, telling the court there had been concerns raised about his safety and a current lack of awareness regarding his mental health.

Yesterday the victim's son told Hawke's Bay Today the family were "extremely thrilled and relieved" someone had been arrested.

"We just kind of had to sit tight and get a result and [we're] just thrilled to bits to hear that they have a suspect in custody."

He said his mother was now "a lot better" since the attack and was determined to get her independence back.

"She had a very low time over the weekend, her health deteriorated quite badly, but she is springing back now.

"She was also thrilled to bits to hear that somebody had been found.

"It's good news for the community as well, they've been most concerned as well."

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave de Lange said the arrest came about due to a team effort between police and the community.

"This was a particularly nasty crime and the arrest has been very rewarding for the staff involved. I acknowledge the long hours put in by our staff who have been working constantly since the attack occurred.

"The arrest was due to a thorough investigation by police and information from the community and other agencies.

"It's pleasing to bring some reassurance to the victim, her family and the community," Mr de Lange said.

There was no application for bail made by defence lawyer Matthew Phelps and the accused was remanded in custody until Tuesday where the issue of name suppression and in court photographs will be re-addressed.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 20 Sep 2014 06:38:57 Processing Time: 505ms