18 Jan 2012

Teen pleads guilty to sex attack on five-year-old

7:00 pm on 18 January 2012

A 16-year-old Turangi boy has pleaded guilty to a sexual attack on a five-year-old girl at a holiday park.

The boy, whose name is suppressed, pleaded guilty at Taupo Youth Court on Wednesday to three separate charges of rape, burglary and sexual violence causing grievous bodily harm.

The girl was attacked on 21 December last year as she slept in her parents' caravan at Club Habitat Holiday Park in Turangi and suffered significant injuries.

The accused came into the court with his head bowed and only spoke when the judge asked him how he would plead.

The court was told the boy wrote a letter of apology on 2 January and this had been sent to the girl's parents.

Judge Jocelyn Munro told the court the seriousness of the crime is such that no sentence in the Youth Court would be adequate.

The boy was remanded in custody to appear in the Rotorua District Court for sentencing on 23 February.

Members of his family were in court, while the girl's family was represented by Victim Support.

The nationality of the victim's family and their travel movements have been suppressed.

Petition presented to court

Auckland mother Tamsin Marshall presented a 700-signature petition to the Taupo Youth Court on Wednesday asking that the 16-year-old be tried as an adult.

However, a family conference had already decided that the case would go to an adult court.

Ms Marshall said she has received plenty of praise for her actions and is glad she did it.

"Because I'm a mother and every time I look at my little girl, I can't help but think what if it happened to her. I have been feeling frustrated and angry about different cases over the last year."

Ms Marshall said she acted alone initially, but has since joined the Sensible Sentencing Trust.