Teen sought in connection with Onehunga assaults

Teen sought in connection with Onehunga assaults

Police are appealing to friends and family of a young man believed to have indecently assaulted several women to come forward with information.

Since October 2015, 11 women in Onehunga have been assaulted whilst out running or walking alone, in each case approached from behind and assaulted.

Teen sought in connection with Onehunga assaults

The offender is said to be a young Maori or Pacific Island teen, aged between 12 and 16.

He has a slim build and light brown hair, which has possibly been dyed a yellow or brassy colour.

During most of the attacks he wore a grey hoodie and knee-length shorts, say police.

Self-defence classes have been held for women in Onehunga, and Onehunga Business Association manager Amanda Kinzett says the community already feels safer.

"The feedback from the women has been extremely positive, so we've done two classes so far that have had 42 women .The women are teenage girls and I've got a waiting list of 100."

The classes covered self-defence techniques, as well as "owning your own strength".

"So often as women, we're nurturers, and we don't want to hurt people, and it was talking about the shock factor and about being aware," she says.

But fear also grips mothers with babies.

"There was a lot of chatter initially of people feeling uncomfortable, especially women walking around with babies concerned about being out on the streets on their own.

"I know there was one man who got hold of me, his wife was seven months pregnant and too scared to go out, so stories that were starting to ferment in the community," Ms Kinzett says.

Teen sought in connection with Onehunga assaults

Notice given to the Onehunga community by police (Supplied)

Detective Constable Patrick Whitiora says the spate of attacks is concerning.

"Behaviour such as this in a young person is worrying, and we want to not only apprehend this person, to obviously stop any more indecent assaults, but we also need to get him help."

The most recent attack happened on March 27 on Gambia Ave, but most of the attacks occur around the Fergusson Domain.

Three of the 11 incidents took place between February 2 to February 4, two those within three hours of each other.

Police have not been able to find the offender, so are now appealing to the public.

Const Whitiora says "everyone has the right to walk our streets without feeling fearful", and is urging anybody with information to call 0800 748 244.