Backpacker Held Captive Saved By Gas Staion Worker
A British woman met her alleged rapist at a music festival while backpacking through Australia.
The two reportedly began "dating" before he raped her, strangled her, held her captive and forced her to drive across the outback for him while he sat in the back of the vehicle.
The terrified 22-year-old was saved by a gas station worker after she stopped for fuel in Mitchell, Queensland, Brisbane Times reports.
The worker noticed her distraught demeanor and followed their van as she drove away.
According to police, the woman met her abuser on January 27 at a dance party outside Cairns, Queensland.
The duo then formed a "boyfriend-girlfriend relationship" before the Cairns man began repeatedly abusing her.
The woman's alleged rapist -- whose name has not been mentioned for legal reasons -- reportedly forced her to drive a majority of the way during a road trip from Cairns to Mitchell in the southern Queensland outback.
Apparently, the man wanted to make his way to Charleville for a job, but hid in the back of the vehicle to avoid being caught by police. Police are investigating the possibility he was attempting to escape drug associates this way.
During their road trip, the man allegedly raped his "girlfriend" twice, which makes a total of four times from the day they met.
He is also accused of strangling the woman with a towel during their journey.
As a result of the consistent abuse, the 22-year-old looked battered upon arriving at a gas staton in Mitchell, Queensland, on Sunday.
After adding fuel to their car, the frightened woman walked into the station to tell the attendant inside she had no money to pay for the gas.
When she walked into the station, the worker noticed the cuts, bruises and fractures on her face.
The woman -- who goes by Donna -- talked to Daily Mail Australia about the moment she noticed something was wrong.
She was in a state of shock when she came in, almost zombie-like. Then she walked in, wearing a black summer dress and said she couldn't pay for the fuel. Tears were running down her face. But what struck me were her black eyes. She looked bad. She was nervous and shaking and I thought her behavior was because she couldn't pay for the fuel. She was like a person in a trance.
The backpacker told Donna she couldn't pay for the gas because her boyfriend had her wallet and drove away moments later.
Donna decided to follow her and told local police who were sitting on the corner of the road what happened, and they went after the backpacker's car.
When they pulled her over, they found the backpacker distraught in the driver seat and her abusive boyfriend hidden in the back of the vehicle.
Police took the man into custody and he now faces charges, including four counts of rape, eight counts of assault, four counts of strangulation and two of deprivation of liberty. He will appear in court on May 23.
The backpacker is currently being treated for her injuries at Roma Hospital and is in touch with her parents in England.
Like any parent would, they want her to come back home as soon as possible.
Citations: Boyfriend who 'kidnapped British backpacker' in Australia was 'clingy and changed his Facebook status to 'Married' after a week' says friend who praises 'victim's' 'brilliant cry for help' that saved her (Daily Mail Australia), UK backpacker beaten and raped in eight-week ordeal in Australia, police say (The Guardian)