A British backpacker was allegedly held hostage and repeatedly raped, beaten and choked during a horrific two-month ordeal after she started dating a man while travelling in Australia.
The 22-year-old was behind the wheel of a vehicle that was pulled over on the Warrego Highway at Mitchell, about 570 kilometres west of Brisbane, on Sunday afternoon.
Staff at a service station at Mitchell told the ABC they contacted police after the woman pumped petrol into a car, but drove away without paying.
Police immediately realised something was very wrong when they found the young woman with serious injuries to her face in an extremely distressed state.
A 22-year-old Attacker was found hiding in a small alcove of the car.
He appeared in the Roma Magistrates Court yesterday, charged with multiple counts of rape and strangulation.
Police said investigations would continue, with officers keen to track the path the pair’s vehicle had taken.
The pair are thought to have met three months previously, with the alleged offences occurring between January 2 and March 5 at various Queensland locations.
Detective Inspector Hart said the pair had travelled extensively throughout Queensland.
“During the course of their travels throughout the state then a number of very serious offences have occurred.”
He said the alleged offender appeared to be “hiding from police”.
“When located we will allege that the male person was secreted in the back section of the vehicle which made it quite difficult to find him,” Detective Inspector Hart said.
He said the alleged victim was considering returning home.
“We would certainly say that what’s happened to this lady is quite catastrophic so there are numerous supports that are being put in place to help her out during through this period.”
The man has been charged with four counts of rape, eight counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, four counts of strangulation, two counts of wilful damage, two counts of deprivation of liberty, one count of possess dangerous drugs, one count of possess drug utensils and one count of obstruct police.
She was taken to hospital where she was treated for fractures to her face, bruises and cuts to her body.
The police investigation continues.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting a British woman following an incident in Queensland and remain in contact with the local authorities.”
The man has been remanded in custody to reappear in court at a later date.