POLICE have closed their investigation into a reported sexual assault in East Albury.
Detectives had been investigating the incident since Tuesday night, when a 17-year-old girl reported being approached by three men on the Dean Street footbridge about 6.20pm.
She told officers she had been dragged along a nearby bike path into bushes and sexually assaulted, with one of the men said to have threatened her with a knife.
Police had scoured nearby businesses for security footage, and the girl was assessed at Albury hospital, but officers now believe the incident didn’t happen.
“Detectives from Albury Local Area Command have conducted extensive inquiries since the reported incident, including forensic testing, and have spoken to a number of people,” police said in a statement last night.
“The investigation has now finalised.
“Police are no longer seeking three men and no further action is anticipated.”
However, police were adamant they didn’t want the outcome to dissuade people reporting similar incidents.
“We encourage anyone who has been the victim of a crime to come forward,” police said.
It appears unlikely the teenager who reported the incident will be charged.
Officers had investigated the incident through a range of avenues and spoke to several people, including the girl who reported the matter.
Members of the public had tried to assist police by reviewing security footage and sharing appeals for information thousands of times on social media.
Computer generated images of the three men police had been seeking were shared on The Border Mail Facebook page almost 4000 times alone.
Police concluded their investigation yesterday.
The new details emerged after Albury mayor Kevin Mack apologised for his comments suggesting women who walked alone were “inviting an attack”.
Speaking yesterday before police revealed they had concluded the investigation, Cr Mack said he had not intended to upset or offend anyone.
“Upon reflection, my focus and my choice of words was poor, and for that I am extremely remorseful,” he said.
“My intent was to infer that sadly we live in a world where walking alone is not safe at times.
“I absolutely and categorically support women and their rights and believe violence against women is totally unacceptable in any form.”
Councillors yesterday said they were opposed to Cr Mack’s initial comments but supported the apology.
Cr Daryl Betteridge said the mayor had “made a blunder, copped some flack and made an appropriate apology”.
Cr David Thurley said: “I believe and accept his apology as a genuine expression of how bad he felt about it.”
Deputy mayor Ross Jackson said Cr Mack had his full support.
Cr Mack could not be reached for comment.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.