Man in court over attack on Whangarei jogger

By Mike Dinsdale -
Whangarei police detectives examine an area on Whangarei's Hatea Loop Walkway yesterday after a woman was allegedly abducted, assaulted and sexually violated. Photo / John Stone
Whangarei police detectives examine an area on Whangarei's Hatea Loop Walkway yesterday after a woman was allegedly abducted, assaulted and sexually violated. Photo / John Stone

A man accused of kidnapping, sexually violating and causing grievous bodily harm to a woman who was jogging on Whangarei's popular Hatea Loop Walkway has been remanded in custody.

The Whangarei man, aged 40, appeared before a Justice of the Peace in Whangarei District Court today charged with sexual violation, kidnapping with intent to have sexual intercourse and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to the woman aged in her early 20s.

The offences are alleged to have occurred yesterday morning, with the man accused of going to the Riverside Dr entrance to the Loop Walkway about 6.30am and grabbing a woman jogger, bundling her into a vehicle then taking her to an address in the city. He is alleged to have sexually violated and seriously assaulted the woman at the property, before dumping her in a central city street injured and traumatised.

The man was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody to reappear in the court on May 9.

The appearance will be via audio visual link from prison. No application was made for bail. Sexual violation carries a maximum sentence of 20 years' jail, while the other two charges have maximum penalties of 14 years' imprisonment.

The alleged attack on the woman has horrified Whangarei residents and prompted a 'Reclaim Our Loop' rally around the Loop tomorrow evening. The rally - organised by a group of about 10 people who regularly run the Loop - is to show support for the city's runners, walkers and wider community. Organisers have asked those attending to bring a gold coin, with all money raised going towards helping the victim of the alleged attack.

The rally will set off from the Canopy Bridge, at the Town Basin, at 5pm.

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