Police investigating a possible serial stalker in Wellington have revealed re-testing DNA resulted in no new leads, and they are no closer to an arrest than a year ago.
However, detectives say they have found no proof the attacks were linked to one person - although it cannot be ruled out.
The Weekend Herald revealed last July that police believed a spate of sex assaults in the capital might be connected to a sole offender, with officers examining links between as many as 12 incidents.
In all of the cases, women were grabbed and dragged from secluded areas or walkways in the city's centre with the intention of sexually assaulting them. At least one of the attacks ended in rape.
It was feared the offender - if it was a lone person - may have been operating for at least seven years, with the earliest known case an assult on scientist Grace Leung on an unlit path near Massey University's Mt Cook campus in 2011.
Leung, then 27, told the Weekend Herald a man put his hand over her mouth and whispered: "Scream and I'll kill you," before pulling her towards a derelict building. She escaped after punching him the face.
A second victim - attacked nine months after Leung - said she'd had no idea the path was a known problem area, and had been horrified to learn after her attack there had been previous incidents.
Two other attacks were on a pathway nicknamed "rape alley" near Victoria University's Boyd Wilson field in April 2014. The latest was in January 2017, again at the Boyd Wilson field.
The links between the cases were believed to be behavioural, rather than forensic. Details of at least two attacks were sent to the criminal profiling unit for examination, but it was unknown what similarities were identified.
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Leung told police her assailant was aged around 30, of medium height and build, and not very fit or strong. She described him as having light hair. However, a subsequent victim described an offender with dark hair.
An identikit photo released four years ago in relation to the two assaults at Boyd Wilson field showed a young man with light features, wearing a hoodie.
Leung recognised the man in that picture, and attempted to tell police she thought it was the same offender. But detectives never re-interviewed her.
When she requested her police file last year , Leung confirmed police had not recorded the call or re-opened her case despite the new information.
At that time, police told Leung they would re-test the DNA from the offender in her case - this time asking for a familial DNA test, which identifies similar genetic traits, such as those of a relative.
Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee, from the Wellington criminal investigations bureau, said the neither that test, nor other DNA testing, had generated any positive lines of enquiry.
He said there was no information to suggest the attacks were linked to one offender - particularly because there were differing descriptions of the offender provided - although it could not be ruled out.
Detectives were still actively investigating the case, McKee said.
"Police have revisited some of the victims in the last year and continues to provide support and reassurance to those who need it."
One victim confirmed police had contacted her after the Weekend Herald story. Leung, however, had heard nothing.
McKee said no further attacks had been reported since 2017. Some of the areas had since had bush cleared and lights and cameras added for better security.
However he said if anyone had experienced a similar incident and not reported it, they should come forward.
Rape Crisis spokesperson Andrea Black said she had heard nothing further since last year. She was hopeful the perpetrator would be caught.
"Rape Crisis holds the view that when one woman is raped every woman feels that fear because of the threat that is present, she said. "Having no action continues the underlying fear that women live with every day of being sexually assaulted."
Detectives said anyone who had information they might be interested was welcome to contact them on the Crimestoppers line: 0800 555 111.
SEXUAL ABUSE OR ASSAULTS - WHERE TO GET HELP:
The Safe to talk sexual harm helpline is available free 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Resources, info and webchat atwww.safetotalk.nz
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
You can also visit the police website for information about reporting sexual crime.