Sunshine Coast Daily - - FRONT PAGE - SHAYLA BULLOCH [email protected]­

TOURISTS en­joyed the sun­shine and watched their care­free chil­dren play at the park yes­ter­day, com­pletely un­aware of the hor­ror that un­folded just me­tres from their pic­nic spot weeks ear­lier.

A usu­ally serene spot at Coolum now felt “eerie” to stroll through after news a child was sex­u­ally as­saulted in pub­lic toi­lets at the pop­u­lar hol­i­day spot spread through the com­mu­nity.

The morn­ing of Jan­uary 4, Tif­fany No­ble was at Tickle Park with her fam­ily en­joy­ing the mar­kets. It was a usu­ally busy event with plenty of fam­i­lies at­tend­ing.

Ms No­ble learned that af­ter­noon a four-year-old Sun­shine Coast girl wan­dered into a uni­sex toi­let block alone. A man en­tered and sex­u­ally as­saulted her.

“It’s hor­ri­ble to think we were there that morn­ing,” she said.

“The com­mu­nity is com­pletely shocked and sad­dened – we just can’t be­lieve it.”

Of­fi­cer in charge of the Child Pro­tec­tion and In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit, Se­nior Sergeant Phil Hurst said the girl wan­dered away from her fam­ily and into the toi­let alone be­tween 4.30pm and 5.30pm that Fri­day af­ter­noon.

She re­turned to her fam­ily and told her par­ents who con­tacted po­lice the fol­low­ing day.

Ms No­ble, mum to sev­en­month-old Laken, moved to the quiet area from Caloun­dra about six months ago and fre­quented the Coolum mar­kets of­ten.

“That Fri­day it was par­tic­u­larly busy. With so many peo­ple around, if a child slipped out of sight even for a sec­ond it would be panic,” she said.

“Ev­ery­one has talked about it and can’t be­lieve some­body is ca­pa­ble of that.

“It’s dis­gust­ing to know it hap­pened in our back­yard.”

Ms No­ble and friend Kristy Brunswick were walk­ing through Tickle Park yes­ter­day with their young chil­dren and said they couldn’t help but feel “eerie”.

“It makes you a lit­tle uneasy,” Ms Brunswick said.

“You can never be too safe but it really makes you un­sure what your next step should be.”

For po­lice, their next step was to catch the man re­spon­si­ble.

After ex­haust­ing all wit­nesses and CCTV ef­forts, po­lice were urg­ing the com­mu­nity to help find the man be­fore he acted again.

“It’s very con­cern­ing that this has hap­pened in our area,” Snr Sgt Hurst said.

“When any­one com­mits such a brazen act against a child... there is also the risk it could hap­pen again.”

Snr Sgt Hurst urged par­ents to take all nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions in pub­lic places.

Although a spe­cific de­scrip­tion of the man was not able to be pro­vided by the vic­tim, he was be­lieved to have white or light coloured hair, wear­ing shorts and a t-shirt.

Po­lice asked the pub­lic to come for­ward if they saw any­thing sus­pi­cious at Tickle Park that af­ter­noon.

They also asked any­one who drove past the area that af­ter­noon who may have dash cam footage to con­tact Po­licelink on 131 444.

Photo: War­ren Ly­nam

SAD­DENED: Kristy Brunswick with daugh­ter Charli Brunswick, nine months, and Tif­fany No­ble with son Laken No­ble, seven months, said they were shocked to hear a four-year-old girl was sex­u­ally as­saulted in the toi­lets be­hind them.

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