A 22-year-old British tourist was repeatedly raped and assaulted by a man who “deprived her of her liberty” for weeks, Australian police said.
The woman’s harrowing ordeal ended Sunday afternoon when police officers pulled over the car she was driving in Mitchell, a small rural town more than 340 miles west of Brisbane, after she failed to pay for gas.
The “overly alarmed” woman with “noticeable” injuries told the officers that she was being held against her will by a man located in the vehicle. After searching the car, police found a 22-year-old man hiding in the rear, underneath clothing and other items. The two had been in a relationship that “at some point had soured,” Detective Inspector Paul Hart of the Queensland Police Service said during a press conference.
The woman, who has not been identified, was described as having “facial fractures, scratches and abrasions to her neck area” as well as other bruising. “They are very serious offenses and would have been quite traumatic for the young female involved,” Hart said. She had not been reported missing.
The man was charged with offenses including four counts of rape, eight counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, four counts of strangulation, as well as counts of willful damage, deprivation of liberty, possession of dangerous drugs and police obstruction. One of the willful damage charges refers to the alleged offender damaging the victim’s passport. The man, who has not been identified, will appear in court in about a week, Hart said. The investigation is ongoing.
“Rural Queensland is a fantastic place to live and for our police to work, we have great community spirit and this kind of incident does rock the community,” he added.