Present deluge for girl, attacker still at large

By Jamie Morton, Herald Online staff

The scene at the camping grounds where a young girl was attacked in the caravan where the family was staying. Photo / Christine Cornege.
The scene at the camping grounds where a young girl was attacked in the caravan where the family was staying. Photo / Christine Cornege.

New Zealanders are being asked not to donate any more presents to the family of a five-year-old girl viciously assaulted at a Turangi campground.

Waikato Hospital and Hamilton Police have been inundated with gifts and toys for the girl, who is recovering from her injuries.

Her horrific attack was believed to be sexually motivated, and more than 30 police are still hunting for her attacker.

Her mother had returned to the family's caravan at the Club Habitat Holiday Park to find it locked, with a man on top of her daughter. She ran screaming for her husband, who was working on a computer in the amenities block, and they found their daughter unconscious on the bed.

A witness heard the father's screams for help and ran over to find the girl in her mother's arms "covered in blood with a really swollen face".

Police staff, including a specialist criminal profiling team, continue to investigate.

This morning police say the family, on holiday from Europe, are 'incredibly appreciative' of the generosity shown by New Zealanders.

However, the family can only take so many gifts back to their home country and the surplus will be given to other sick children.

Donations are still being accepted to a Trust fund set up to assist the girl in her recovery at Westpac Bank, with the account number 03-1555-0150947-00 under the name "Operation Turangi".

Turangi resident Vicki Ham has organised a collection in the town with the buckets placed at approximately 20 businesses.

"I heard on the news what had happened and wondered what I could do to help.
I thought this would be a nice way for our community to give something back to the family," said Vicki.

"We're absolutely devastated that something like this could happen in Turangi. We can't make it right so this is our way of showing that the community of Turangi do care."

The collection is expected to raise at least $2,500.

Police hope to complete a scene examination by lunchtime today and say the ute and caravan will be removed from the scene.

Detective Inspector Mark Loper says the investigation remains a priority for police.

"The family can be assured that no stone will be left unturned. We are receiving good support and cooperation from the community and have a number of persons of interest but we are still very keen to hear from anyone else who hasn't yet made contact and has information that might assist us."

He could not provide a description of the attacker - and did not rule out the assault being gang-related.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Taupo Police Station on 07 378 6060.

Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


- NZ Herald

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