7yo girl latest sex assault victim

POLICE are hunting for a possible serial predator attacking young girls in their homes, after a seven-year-old was sexually assaulted in Grafton on Tuesday.

This follows the sexual assault of two primary school-age girls at a Prince Street home in November.

Police could not confirm if the two attacks are linked but have not ruled out a connection.

In both attacks, a man broke into a house in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted young girls as they slept.

The attacks are being investigated by a taskforce headed by detectives from the State Crime Command's Sex Crimes Squad and the Coffs Harbour Joint Investigation Response Team.

In the latest incident, a man broke into a Queen Street home sometime between 8pm Tuesday and 7.30am Wednesday.

Two other incidents reported in the past 14 months are eerily similar, with all four attacks happening in the same area.

At the end of February last year, a five-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in the middle of the night after an intruder broke into her Dobie Street home while the family slept.

Three months earlier, an intruder twice broke into a Pound Street home where two girls were sleeping, initially gaining entry through an unlocked window in the girls' bedroom.

The intruder tried to grab one of the girls by her foot before attempting to talk them into going outside with him.

The man ran away when the girls awakened their father, but returned a few weeks later when he gained entry using a key hidden outside. The father was awakened by his daughter screaming and chased the man out the front door.

Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, of the State Crime Command's Sex Crimes Squad, said there could be a serial offender. He warned residents to lock doors and windows at night.

Police last month released a computer-generated picture of a man wanted in connection with the Prince Street assault. He was described as tall and skinny with a freckled complexion. That man has not yet been found.

Anyone with information about the assaults, or the man in the identikit, is urged to contact Strike Force Noreen detectives at Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information can be provided anonymously.

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