Woman to be interviewed after 'cowardly' attack

Nelson police will today speak to a 62-year-old woman raped on New Year's Day while gardening at a public park.

A heavy police presence has been in place around the Victory area of Nelson since the vicious incident as they hunt down the "cowardly" attacker.

The woman was beaten and sexually assaulted as she worked alone in a shade house at Victory community gardens about 2.30pm.

She's been in hospital with substantial, but not life-threatening, head and facial injuries since then and police hope she will be well enough to speak to them today.

Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge of Nelson CIB hopes the woman will be able to give them further details, which could identify the man.

He's been described as dark-skinned, possibly Maori or Polynesian, in his early 20s with short hair and very distinctive tattoos.

His left arm was fully tattooed from the shoulder to the wrist in a Maori or tribal design.

His right arm was also tattooed from the shoulder to the elbow in what was believed to be a Maori or tribal design.

Police have been door-to-door canvassing the Victory area, as well as conducting a scene examination.

The scene where the attack took place was visible from a popular public walkway and Mr Langridge said it was likely that people would have been using the path as the attack took place.

Police would like to hear from anyone who was on or near the Railway Reserve about 2.30pm yesterday, and they plan to maintain a significant presence in the area until the offender is caught.

"This man is a risk to himself and the wider community and I strongly encourage him to hand himself in," Mr Langridge said.


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