Girl (13) flees attempted abduction

Tauranga police are hunting for a man who assaulted a young girl while she was walking to school.

The 13-year-old Tauranga Intermediate School student was walking to school when she was attacked sometimes between 7.15 and 8am yesterday, said Senior Sergeant Lew Warner.

"The young lady told police that whilst she was walking along Chadwick Road, Tauranga, she was approached by a male who grabbed her from behind and pulled her towards him.

"This occurred near the intersection of Greerton Road and Chadwick Road near Greerton Furnishings."

The victim managed to pull away and run along Chadwick Road. She said no words were spoken by the offender, Mr Warner said.

He is described as a Caucasian male, six-feet tall and about 30 years of age. He had light brown hair and was wearing 3/4 pants and a basketball type shirt.

The attack follows a spate of recent abduction attempts.

On November 6 an 8-year-old girl was targeted in an abduction attempt in Papamoa. A stranger tried to entice her into his car as she rode her scooter the 500m from her school to her father's work.

And 26-year-old man is due to appear in Timaru District Court today charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following the suspected abduction and assault of a 9-year-old Timaru boy last month.

Tauranga Intermediate principal Brian Diver said the student involved in yesterday's attack did extremely well in the circumstances.

"I don't know any details of what happened other than she came to school, informed one of the teachers and our DP phoned the police.

"The police have been here and interviewed her but that's as far as I know."

He said the girl was not harmed in the incident and remained at school for the rest of the day.

"I saw her running around the playground today ... and she is back in class feeling comfortable and settled."

The school's deputy principal said the girl and a friend came up to her just before school started at 8.30am.

"She came to me and said an incident had happened while she was on her way to school. I got her to tell me what had happened, then I rang the police. I didn't ask her any more questions, it's not our duty, we leave that up to the police."

The deputy principal, who did not want to be named, wouldn't say what appeared to have happened to the young girl.

"I can say she's doing okay."

The girl's parents were informed of the incident.

The school offered a health programme around keeping safe to all students.

"This is the first time for a couple of years we've had something like this happen. It's certainly not something we like to hear about and fortunately it isn't something we have to regularly deal with," the deputy principal said.

Police would like to speak to anyone who witnessed this attack or saw anyone fitting the description of the offender. He would also like to speak to anyone who has witnessed any similar type behaviour in this area.

Mr Warner reminded people that it was important to report suspicious behaviour immediately as it was better to prevent crime from happening. He said with any crime, the sooner police were informed, the better chance they had of apprehending the offenders and being able to hold the offenders accountable.

If anyone has any information, phone Tauranga police on 07 5774300 or anonymously via CRIMESTOPPERS (0800 555 111).

- Genevieve Helliwell, The Bay of Plenty Times

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