A "horrendous" sexual assault on a teenage girl in Hastings
has left neighbouring residents asking for increased security
and fearing further attacks.
Police are investigating the sexual assault of a 14-year-old
girl, who was walking through Cornwall Park with a friend at
8.30pm on Sunday. The pair parted company and the victim
continued through the park alone.
Shortly after, the girl was accosted by two men and taken
against her will to a secluded section of the park where she
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule described the assault as
"horrendous" and expressed his sympathies to the victim and
"Cornwall Park is a really beautiful park, and unfortunately
there are some terribly deranged people out there that we
need to catch," he said. "People need to be continually
vigilant about their own personal safety, we can't be
everywhere all the time and neither can the police.
"It's the school holidays and you want people, young people,
to be using the parks for recreational activities. It's
absolutely horrendous. Just tragic that a 14-year-old girl
has been sexually assaulted."
A 69-year-old resident who lives adjacent to the park said
some neighbours thought it wouldn't be long before a fight or
assault took place in the council park.
"I've lived there just over two years and more people had
been congregating in the park in the last two months.
"Since they've closed down the town during school holidays
for kids to hang out, they have been coming down to the park.
"They are mainly girls and you hear them screaming and
yelling some times, but most of the time it's nothing, and
then you hear about something like this happening. It's
He said the homes around the park were mainly those of
elderly people, who were "getting worried" at night.
"It's a real shame, it's such a beautiful park. But with all
the trees it gets pretty dark here.
"The residents are getting concerned, we lock our doors and
close our blinds as soon as it gets dark.
"There needs to be better lighting, these kids shouldn't be
out that late anyway, but an increased security presence and
improved lighting around the park may stop future attacks
He said he didn't hear or see the attack on Sunday night and
was made aware of the attack when police knocked on his door
"Police continue to appeal to the public for any information
that may assist them in piecing together what has occurred
and any information that might lead to the identification of
the offenders for this attack."
Inquiries continued yesterday while a scene examination also
Police would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at
Anyone with information who does not wish to be identified
can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and leave their
- Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today