IT is every parent’s nightmare – two young girls enjoying a family picnic at a familiar park wander out of sight for a few minutes and into a public toilet block where they are sexually assaulted.
Guildford’s tight-knit community are angry and shocked that the sisters, aged two and six, were attacked yesterday just 30m from where their family was enjoying lunch.
A police hunt for a man of Middle Eastern appearance has entered a second day after the girls were attacked after they went into the toilet block at Campbell Hill Pioneer Reserve in Guildford about 1.30pm.
The girls were taken to hospital but the extent of their injuries was not known.
Detectives from the child abuse squad have formed Strike force Sandyman to further investigations after police officers, the dog unit and Polair failed to find the man yesterday.
Detective Acting Superintendent Peter Yeomans described the attacks as “a parent’s worst nightmare”.
“The parents involved in this are absolutely devastated and so is the immediate family,” he told Macquarie Radio on Friday.
“It’s horrific, what has happened to them.”
A large group of angry residents gathered outside the popular park, which has a family-friendly shaded playground and several covered eating areas, after the attack.
Campbell Hill Reserve Guildford
A resident identified only as Maysa said that she knew the family: “It’s shocking. I don’t know what to say. It’s disgusting. There’s no words to describe how I feel, especially how the family feels.
“They must be devastated. You don’t know what to say. It’s disgusting, he should be burnt, dead. No little kid, no family deserves this.”
The man was described as being of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, 165cm tall, with a chubby build, and aged in his 30s.
Marina Smith-Thorne from Chester Hill told police at the scene she had seen a man of a similar description leaving the women’s toilets in October but, until now, had not thought anything of it.
“I wish I’d said something at the time. I was walking into the women’s toilet with my two little boys when I saw him walking out and I thought ‘What’s he doing in the women’s toilet?’ she said.
“He just sheepishly walked out. At the time I didn’t think anything of it.
“I just heard the description on the news and said to my husband, ‘That sounds exactly like the man I saw’.”
Several families stayed in the park hours after the attack, with one woman saying she saw a man run from the toilet block.
Police, the dog squad and a police helicopter searched the park and the surrounding area. Police sealed off the park entrance as forensic officers and detectives examined the women’s toilets, just 10m from the road.