Police investigating an attack on a five-year-old girl at a Turangi holiday park believe the attack may have been sexually motivated.
The girl was sleeping in a caravan with her three-year-old brother at Club Habitat Holiday Park in Turangi. Her mother went to the amenity block where her husband was using his computer. When she returned she found the caravan locked and saw a man inside with her daughter. She ran screaming for help at which point the offender has left the caravan.
The girl has undergone four hours of surgery today and is in a serious but stable condition in hospital. Her brother was not harmed and slept through the attack.
Detective Inspector Mark Loper who is heading the investigation says it is one of the worst assaults on a child he had seen in his 28 years policing.
He said: "The attack was brutal, on a young defenceless child who should have been spending Christmas on a dream holiday with her family. Her parents are absolutely distraught. They have expressed to us that their privacy is very important to them and they have asked for some space."
Police will not be drawn on the detail of the girl's injuries however DI Loper says "they are significant and heart-wrenching. The nature of her injuries lead us to believe that the attack was sexually motivated".
There were about eight groups of people staying at the park last night. Police are carrying out interviews with all of those people and speaking to local residents to try to identify witnesses. The area remains cordoned as ESR continue with a thorough scene examination.
Police are asking the community to focus on the period of time between 10pm and 10.45pm and to report any activity in and around the area of the park that may assist the investigation. Police also want to hear from anyone who thinks they may know who is responsible for this attack.
"It doesn't matter how irrelevant the piece of information may seem, let us judge its importance," said DI Loper. "It is vital that we catch the person responsible for this attack sooner rather than later. If someone feels they can not speak to us directly Crimestoppers provides an avenue that guarantees anonymity."
Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Taupo Police Station on 07 378 6060. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.