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A man is in custody following the brutal rape of an elderly woman who was attacked in broad daylight in New York's Central Park.
A homeless man has been charged with the rape of an elderly woman who was attacked while birdwatching in New York's Central Park on Wednesday morning.
CNN reported the man was charged with predatory sexual assault, rape, criminal sex act and robbery assault, according to a police statement.
According to the New York Daily News, the man, David Albert Mitchell, 42, was arrested by police on Wednesday night by officer who had seen surveillance footage of him leaving the park following the attack.
The victim, aged 73, picked him out of a police line-up.
The newspaper said Mitchell was already wanted for an incident in Strawberry Fields in which he threatened a man with a knife on August 20.
New York Police Department spokesman, Paul Browne, said Mitchell had some of the elderly victim's belongings on him when he was nabbed by police.
The New York Daily News reported the woman, who leads birdwatching tours in the park, was trying out a new camera lens when the man attacked her about 11am yesterday.
Before fleeing, he ordered her not to move. She was found a short time later lying on the ground around 11:30 a.m. by another birdwatcher, Eric Ozawa.
“I talked to her, she said she'd been raped,” said Ozawa, a New York University writing professor.
“Her face was swollen. Her right eye was badly bruised. Her forehead was swollen."
It is believed the woman had seen her attacker previously when she inadvertently photographed him masturbating in the park nine days earlier.
Before raping her yesterday, the offender said the words: "Do you remember me?"
CBS News quoted Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly saying the attack happened in a wooded area near the park's Strawberry Fields, which serves as a memorial to former Beatles' singer John Lennon.
After sexually assaulting her, the man stole her backpack that contained a camera, police said.
Ozawa who called police after finding the victim said he was shocked at the brazen attack.
"It's shocking that it could happen in the park in broad daylight," he said. "That someone could rape somebody in her 70s."