British backpacker 'repeatedly raped during two months held hostage in car by man she met at party'

Police allege man drove 22-year-old round state, repeatedly attacking her sexually and physically and damaging passport so she couldn’t escape

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The Independent Online

A British backpacker was repeatedly raped by a man she met at a party in Australia who kept her hostage in his car for up to two months, police say.

The 22-year-old woman’s alleged ordeal only ended when officers noticed severe injuries to her face and neck after pulling the vehicle over in the Outback in Queensland.

She said she had been held captive by a man found hiding under clothes in the back of the four-wheel-drive truck after meeting him at a party in Cairns.

“What she has experienced is no doubt horrific and terrifying and we commend her for taking the opportunity to speak to our police,” said Detective Inspector Paul Hart.

“We have potentially saved this young girl’s life. Given what’s happened to her, the extent of what’s happened over the period of time, anything might have transpired.”

Police say the man damaged her passport, possibly to prevent her escape, and that they were travelling around the state since 2 January.

Officers said the woman, who had been in the country since 2015, was “overly alarmed” when she was pulled over on Warrego Highway, in Mitchell, after the pair failed to pay for petrol.

“She advised that over a period of weeks she had been held against her will by the male person located in the vehicle,” the officer said.

“It was established they had previously had a relationship but at some point it had soured and he basically deprived her of her liberty and committed a number of offences against her as they travelled around the state.”

The tourist, who was treated in hospital, has since spoken to family in the UK and a new passport is being arranged.

The suspect, from the Manunda suburb of Cairns, appeared at Roma Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with four counts of rape, eight counts of assault and four counts of strangulation.

Other charges included two counts of deprivation of liberty, two counts of willful damage, one count of possessing dangerous drugs, one count of possessing drug utensils and one count of obstructing police.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting a British woman following an incident in Queensland and remain in contact with the local authorities.”