A backpacker was repeatedly raped, beaten and choked during a two-month hostage ordeal in Australia, police alleged on Tuesday after she was rescued during a random traffic stop. The 22-year-old, who court officials said was British, was visibly distressed and had injuries to her face when police pulled over the car she was driving on Monday near Mitchell in outback Queensland, 560 kilometres west of Brisbane.
A 22-year-old man was found hiding in the back of the vehicle. Authorities say she had been “held against her will and seriously assaulted over a period of several weeks”. Police said the pair met three months ago and agreed to go on a road trip, but it all went horribly wrong with the woman repeatedly attacked between January 2 and March 5 at various locations.
The man has been charged with a string of offences including four counts of rape, eight of assault, four of strangulation, and two of deprivation of liberty. “The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries including facial fractures, bruising and cuts to her body,” police said, with the man remanded in custody to appear in court at a later date.
Australia is a popular destination for young backpackers, with around 600,000 touring the country every year. They occasionally run into trouble, most famously in the early 1990s when seven were murdered by Ivan Milat in a series of killings that terrified Australia. Milat is serving consecutive life sentences after the remains of two Britons, three Germans and two Australians were found buried in a forest southwest of Sydney.