Hospital staff foil sex attack

A health worker was left badly shaken when a man allegedly tried to sexually assault her in broad daylight outside Waikato Hospital yesterday.

Police are praising members of the public and hospital staff for reacting swiftly to the situation and providing information which led to the arrest of an 18-year-old man this morning.

Detective Sergeant Daryl Smith said the 54-year-old woman was returning to her car in the Pembroke St car park, opposite the hospital, about 2pm when she was attacked.

"The woman screamed for help and managed to break free from her attacker, running towards a member of the public to raise the alarm. The offender fled the car park and crossed the road into the hospital grounds," he said.

"Waikato Hospital security staff alerted police and were able to supply good quality security camera images that greatly assisted us with our enquiries."

Hospital communications director Mary Anne Gill said the woman in question was a health professional who, while not employed by the hospital, was visiting in a professional capacity.

"Our hearts go out to her. It's really awful for this to have happened when she was just going about her work," she said.

"It was busy in the emergency department so for him to try this in broad daylight is pretty awful."

Ms Gills said the hospital's security procedures had worked well and the reaction from staff couldn't have been quicker.

"A member of the public contacted our security people and within 45 seconds of that first call the security guards were over in the carpark and were on the lookout for this particular person," she said.

Police said the woman was badly shaken but not hurt.

The alleged attacker, who was found at an address in Deanwell, was being interviewed by police.

Mr Smith said the victim did everything right once she noticed she was under threat.

"She screamed to draw attention to her predicament and members of the public came to her assistance. If anyone finds themselves in a threatening situation like this, police advise you to make as much noise as possible to draw attention to your plight and possibly scare the offender away."

- Matthew Theunissen of APNZ

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