Porirua community on edge following sexual assault

By Jimmy Ellingham

Police are likely to tomorrow again door-knock neighbours of a Porirua woman subjected to a prolonged and horrific sexual assault in her home.

About 20 officers went door-to-door along Waihemo St and surrounding areas in northern Wellington today, trying to gather any leads about what happened in the early hours of Friday.

About 6am, a 65-year-old woman who lived alone, answered her door to a man claiming to be searching for his daughter. After going inside he attacked the woman for hours.

Neighbours are stunned, shocked and angry about what happened as police mount a full-scale investigation. They are hunting a clean-shaven and well spoken Maori or Pacific Island man in his late 30s or 40s.

Kapiti Mana area commander Inspector Paul Basham said this evening officers were still working through the scene and the forensic evidence.

"We're reviewing the area canvas in terms of what we got today. It's highly likely that we will return to the area and either re-do the area canvas - and that's purely around catching the people that weren't home - or broaden it."

Mr Basham again appealed for anyone with information to come forward and said his "team's committed and confident of finding this guy".

The woman complained to police on Friday and completed a lengthy interview yesterday, before details of what happened were made public.

"There was a delay in the complaint being made to police initially. We then went through quite a protracted phase at the weekend with the victim," Mr Basham said at an earlier press conference.

He described the victim as a "brave woman" who had suffered "serious emotional and mental injuries". She had also been physically injured too but Mr Basham didn't go into details.

He confirmed the woman didn't require hospital treatment after the "prolonged and nasty sexual assault".

"We believe the offender had approached one person in the neighbourhood with a story about looking for his daughter.

"He's then left the person and then approached the victim's address and used a similar story to gain access to the victim's house."

"Intruder sexual assaults" were rare in New Zealand but Mr Basham urged people to be safe and wary about letting strangers into their homes.

Fifteen investigators were working on the case and the criminal profiling unit were called into help, Mr Basham said.

One Waihemo St resident said police told her on Friday evening about what happened and that night there were security guards at the scene.

She no longer felt safe in the area and had stopped going for walks around the block to exercise.

She knew the victim and hoped to see her at some point.

"We've had her over at our place a few times.

"We're just all gutted here. We just couldn't believe it happened to [the victim] and it happened on our street."

She heard the man might have been watching the woman's property and was likely drunk when he struck.

"I don't think she'll come back. It's sad really. We had that shooting the other side," the resident said of April's siege at Kokiri Cres.

"We're still trying to get over that. I can't believe this has now happened in our neighbourhood. I hope [the victim] is all right."

A woman who lives in a property behind where the attack took place heard nothing. She was surprised about that because "you can normally hear a pin drop" in the quiet area.

She was angry about what this "creep" had done.

"I'm so peeved. I don't even feel like living around here anymore," she said.

"I feel so violated. I feel horrified that this has happened. I always thought that this was a safe place - a safe haven."

- Additional reporting Newstalk ZB

- NZ Herald

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