"Random, horrible scenario": St George Police investigate alleged sexual assault of child and stabbing in dance studio

St George Police Superintendent Julian Griffiths speaks to media outside Kogarah Police Station on Friday in relation to an alleged sexual attack on a child, and a stabbing on Thursday night.

St George Police Superintendent Julian Griffiths speaks to media outside Kogarah Police Station on Friday in relation to an alleged sexual attack on a child, and a stabbing on Thursday night.

Police investigating an alleged sexual assault of a child, 7, and a stabbing at Kogarah last night say the incident is a completely random attack.

A girl was allegedly attacked in the toilets of St George Dance Centre on the corner of Railway Parade and Derby Street shortly before 8pm on Thursday night.

Police were called to the commercial premises after a man, 46, was stabbed in the stomach and neck.

Witnesses helped the injured man and detained the alleged offender, a 54-year-old male who had head injuries.

The girl has since been assessed at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick.

A man is escored from the dance centre at Kogarah after a girl, 7, was allegedly sexually assaulted. Picture: ABC

A man is escored from the dance centre at Kogarah after a girl, 7, was allegedly sexually assaulted. Picture: ABC

St George Police Superintendent Julian Griffiths says the isolated incident is “horrible.”

“This is a random, serious and concerning scenario where this location has been picked,” he said.

“Our early investigations have identified that an allegation of personal violence offence has been committed against a seven-year-old girl who was also visiting the premises. Those offences include an allegation of sexual assault.”

He says the incident occured in the building’s shared toilet facility.

“We believe the male was already in the premises and has approached the child while in there,” Mr Griffiths said.

“Another man who was aware the child could not be accounted for, was assisting others in locating the child. 

“People who were present took action they deemed appropriate.”

Kogarah beauty salon owner Rachelle Youssef heard terrible screams from the studio above her shop.

“I heard this awful screaming like two adults fighting and then this really panicked yelling, ‘call the police, call the police’, over and over,” she said.

“It was really terrible. I went outside and the man who was stabbed came out bleeding.

“He was talking on the phone and walking and I said ‘you have to sit down you have blood coming out’.

“I got Chux superwipes for the bleeding.

“He sat and then he just laid down in shock. He was overwhelmed.”

Mohamad Hariri was in his family’s charcoal chicken restaurant across the road celebrating his 24th birthday when they heard screaming.

Mr Hariri said a dentist from the Denture and Dental Studio Laboratory, which shares a bathroom with the St George Dance studio one flight above Derby Street, had surprised the man while allegedly assaulting the seven-year-old girl.

The dentist told Mr Hariri he saw the man partly undressed.

“The man had his pants halfway down. There was a little girl,” Mr Hariri said.

“The dentist began to punch him.”

Police outside St George Dance Centre Kogarah on Thursday night following the incident. Picture: ABC

Police outside St George Dance Centre Kogarah on Thursday night following the incident. Picture: ABC

The 54-year-old alleged offender from Kogarah is under police guard at St George Hospital. He is not in a position to assist police with inquiries until early next week.

“We are working off medical advice that he won’t be able to provide police assistance today,” Mr Griffiths said.

“But I want to make the message clear that there is no link to any of those commercial premises on that floor.

“Joint Strike Force Howelston with the State Crime Child Abuse Squad has commenced. Our priority is the safety and welfare of the girl, who is receiving support from her family and from services.

“This is a concerning matter are are confronted with. That’s why we’re using local detectives and specialists to ensure a positive outcome.

“An incident like this will have everyone considering their own personal safety measures. We would encourage people to continue to show vigilance in public areas and shared facilities.”

Nearby dance school ACTiv Elite Performers posted on Facebook, sending its best wishes to those affected by the incident.

“Our hearts go out to our friends at St George Dance Centre after hearing the news of this senseless and violent attack in our community. Lots of love to the families, staff and children affected and to the brave man who intervened.”

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