MANHUNT: Officers from the Sex Crimes Squad in Windale on Friday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll Police say they will work around the clock this weekend to find the man responsible for a daylight sex assault in Windale which has left the neighbourhood reeling.
One resident in Yertala Close, a sloping, dead-end street that backs on to the gully where a 14-year-old girl was attacked at knifepoint on Wednesday,said the incident had been confronting.
“The brazenness of it. It hits home real hard,” the woman said.
“A lot of us out here are victims of it. We’ve all come from some diverse homes, some of us mums. And it’s just rattled us, really rattled us, opened up doorways that were shut a long time ago.”
Windale sex attack reaction: ‘Some of us mums, it’s really rattled us’ TOO CLOSE: Police tape next to houses and the park off Yertala Close where the attack happened. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TweetFacebookPictures: Jonathan CarrollThe woman’s teenage daughter was at home with friends when, only metres away, the 14-year-old girl was dragged into bush on her way home from school.
“All we can do now is just keep them close,” the woman said.“The afternoon it happened all the girls were sitting out the back there.
“It’s just made us sick. You’ve got no idea. My poor daughter, it’s rocked her because it was not even 25 metres away. I’ve got cameras I’m about to get set up.”
The woman said the attack hadbrought back memories of Windale nurse Renee Mitchell’s killing by local man Graham Sloane in nearby Bangalay Reserve in 2014.
Officers from the state Sex Crimes Squad canvassed residents in Windale on Friday and were pursuing CCTV footage that could help in the investigation.
Lake Macquarie Police District Commander Daniel Sullivansaid police hadreceived“wonderful support” from residents.
“Any and all sexual assaults are terrible, but when the attack is by a stranger on a young child, it sends chills throughout the community,” Supt Sullivan said.
He said police were sifting through the information they had received from the public.
“That said, investigators are still appealing for more. No matter how small that detail may seem, it could be the key to justice for this brave young girl.”
Schools in the area addressed students on Friday about stranger danger.
Another resident in Yertala Close said many children lived in the street.
“Everyone’s keeping them indoors and away from that bush area,” he said.
The attacker isdescribed as30 to 40 years oldwith aprominent nose and lips,asolid build. Hewaswearing a dark hoodie, dark long pants andgrey joggers and left the scene in a silver car.
Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000. LOOKING FOR CLUES: Police searching near the crime scene on Thursday, the day after the attack. Picture: Marina Neil
Information can be given to police anonymously throughCrime Stoppers on1800 333 000.