Person sought after girl sexually assaulted

Invercargill detectives are appealing for help in a bid to catch a person who sexually assaulted a young school pupil on her way to school.

Detective Aarron Dempsey, of Invercargill police, said the attack happened between 8am and 8.30am on February 4 as the girl was walking along Iona St.

''She was minding her own business when she was grabbed from behind, dragged into the nearby Iona St playground and sexually assaulted.''

He said the girl seized her chance to run away when the attacker became distracted.

The attacker is described as slightly built, wearing a black hoodie, black beanie or cap, black or dark jeans and black shoes. He would not confirm the gender of the attacker.

Det Dempsey said police had made extensive inquiries in the area and as a result several people have reported seeing a similarly described person sitting near the playground on the morning of the attack.

He said police had also heard from a member of the public who a few weeks before the assault had seen a group of young girls talking with a person matching the description of the offender. The driver got out of her car and moved the girls along.

''We'd like to hear from that group of girls too as they may have very important information.''

Police are urging people to watch Police Ten 7 at 7.30pm today on TVNZ 2 to see whether they have helpful information.

Initially, police in their February 10 press release, as reported by the Otago Daily Times, only stated they were investigating a ''suspicious approach''. At the time they did not state a sexual assault had occurred.

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