Police appeal for witnesses in alleged rape


FURTHER arrests are 'imminent' over the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl at Lennox Head on New Year's Day, detectives said yesterday.

The alleged offence appears to have been a gang rape, and police believe members of the public may be withholding vital information.

Information received so far suggested a number of people were near the scene when the attack was alleged to have happened, Det Snr Const Angela Gargan said.

She and the acting superintendent of the Richmond Local Area police command, Inspector Tony Crandell, yesterday appealed for anyone who was in the area around Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park and the adjacent beach on New Year's Eve to come forward.

"There were hundreds of people in the area who may have seen or heard something they thought was insignificant, but it may actually be vitally important," Insp Tony Crandell said.

"We want to hear from anyone who was down there in the evening and the early hours of the morning, teenagers or adults, and can assure them of total confidentiality."

The alleged offence happened at 12.30am on New Year's Day on Seven Mile Beach, opposite the caravan park.

Two 17-year-old Northern Rivers youths have already been charged with aggravated sexual assault in company.

One will appear in Ballina Children's Court on Friday. The other will appear before Lismore Children's Court on March 8.

Detectives from Strike Force Tabali have interviewed numerous witnesses and are intensifying their investigations. They are in possession of forensic material and are awaiting the outcome of DNA analysis.

Insp Crandell reminded the public they were legally bound to come forward with any information relating to a crime.

If you can help, please contact Strike Force Tabali at Ballina Police Station on 6681 8699.

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