5yo European girl attacked while camping in Turangi, NZ

Updated: 24 Dec 2011
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Specialist criminal profilers have joined the hunt for the violent attacker of a five-year-old camper.

The girl, a tourist police described only as being from Europe, was asleep with her 3-year-old brother in the caravan when the attack happened between 10.10pm and 10.40pm on Wednesday, while their parents were in a nearby amenities block.

She sustained horrific injuries to her head and face in the attack.

Police investigating the attack today indicated they may be looking for more than one person.

Detective Inspector Mark Loper said he would not comment on how many suspects the police were looking for.

"But we are doing some profiling, yes."

The investigation today was focusing on the crime scene, he said.

Specialist forensics officers were combing the caravan, which was located near a children's playground, in an effort to build a picture of what happened in the moments before and during the horrific attack.

"We will leave no stone unturned," Loper said.

One line of investigation was reports of a heavy Mongrel Mob presence in the town on the night of the attack.

"We are not ruling anything in or out at this stage of the inquiry," he said.

"We are keeping an open mind."

But what police were confident of was that someone in the community or the wider public would know, or at least suspect, who was responsible for the crime.

"There could have been someone who came home that night and a relative or loved one feels that something was not quite right with them," he said.

"We are waiting for that phone call from someone who knows something, anything and we urge them to come forward."

The nature of the girl's injuries had led police to believe the attack was sexually motivated, he said.

Known sex offenders in the area are now being contacted in a bid to establish their whereabouts at the time, he said.

Neighbouring police stations were also nominating known sex offenders and possible suspects.


The girl was now awake and was sitting up in her hospital bed, talking, eating and drawing pictures.

Police have not yet spoken to her.

"Physically she is doing better and better," her parents said in a statement. "She started playing and drawing in her bed."

The girl had undergone surgery at Waikato Hospital yesterday.



Tourists Maj Jacobsen and Laerke Ladefoged said they were asleep in their campervan when they heard the screams. "We sat there wondering if we should go and help, but we were scared," Ladefoged said.

Police arrived quickly - the police station is opposite the campground. "We went to see what had happened but were told to leave by police," Ladefoged said. "It was not until we saw the ambulance arrive that we knew it was serious."

Jacobsen added: "You hear about this sort of thing but you never think it will be so close to you. We didn't sleep very well for the rest of the night."

The campground, one side of which borders State Highway 1 and which is close to a supermarket and petrol station, is often the target of petty burglaries and a burglary is believed to have occurred the night before the attack. Police were investigating whether the two events were connected.

Club Habitat owner Greg Marks could not be contacted. He has had the business for sale for the past 18 months and lives in Brisbane, although he was staying at the campground on Wednesday night with his family.

Ten years ago Mark Hetaraka, 22, of Turangi, was jailed for 10 years for the kidnap and rape of a 25-year-old Japanese tourist at the campground. The attack lasted for more than 1 1/2 hours and the woman's injuries were described as awful.





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