Fort Victoria Country Park near Yarmouth remains under Police locked down after a 3-year-old girl was subjected to a sexual attack in woodland area we can reveal.
The park’s public toilets and an area of nearby woodland have been sealed off as investigations into the incident continue more than 24 hours after the shocking events of Bank Holiday Monday.
Officers initially responded to the area, alongside the National Police Air Service helicopter from Bournemouth, shortly after 3pm yesterday afternoon. The search then moved towards the Wightlink ferry terminal at Yarmouth and later to Lymington on the mainland.
A 60-year-old man from the Isle of Wight has since been arrested in connection with the incident. He remains in custody at this time.
Scenes of crime investigators have been collecting evidence from the country park throughout the day with portaloos brought in to replace the public toilets whilst they are closed for examination. It’s thought the youngster was taken from one area to another, resulting in a large crime scene.
Mainland Police officers have been drafted in from the New Forest to support local teams with securing the area.
Detective Chief Inspector Liam Davies has said:
“This was a very serious incident and there will be an increased police presence in the area whilst we examine a number of lines of enquiry.
“The child, a 3-year-old girl, and their family are receiving specialist support while we seek to establish the full circumstances of what happened.
“We know there were two dog walkers in the vicinity at this time – a man and a woman – who we believe may have witnessed something significant and discussed this with the child’s mother. It is vital that we identify them. If this is you, please contact us immediately.
“In addition, we would like to hear from anyone who used Fort Victoria Country Park either that day or previously and who may have seen someone acting suspiciously, or anything out of the ordinary which could assist our investigation.
“You may not believe that you have anything significant to tell us, but even the smallest piece of information could be vital, so please get in touch.”
Superintendent Sarah Jackson said:
“Incidents of this nature are extremely rare, and we work very hard on the Isle of Wight to tackle sexual offences in partnership with organisations that support victims.
“All allegations of this nature are taken very seriously, and dedicated officers will be working tirelessly to investigate this incident.
“Officers remain at the scene in Fort Victoria Country Park, and there are additional officers in the area conducting patrols, so if you have any information or concerns please do not hesitate to approach them.”
Enquiries to establish the full circumstances of this incident are underway. People are asked not to speculate.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting Operation July. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.