British woman held captive in Australia for two months

By Andrew V. Pestano

March 7 (UPI) -- A man in Australia is facing rape, assault and deprivation of liberty charges after allegedly keeping a 22-year-old British backpacker captive for more than two months, an official said.

Detective Inspector Paul Hart said authorities arrested the man on Sunday in Mitchell in the Australian state of Queensland after police went up to a car that was out of gasoline.


Hart said the female driver, who was previously reported missing, began to tell police about her situation and that those officers believed her statements to be credible because of visible injuries. Officers searched the vehicle and found a 22-year-old man hiding in the back.

"She'd been held against her will by the male person located in the vehicle," Hart said in a press conference. "It was established they had previously had a relationship but at some point that had soured and he had basically deprived her of liberty, and committed a number of offenses against her as they traveled around the state."

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The alleged offenses occurred throughout January and February in various locations in Queensland.

Hart said the woman sustained injuries including facial fractures, scratches, cuts and bruises -- some of which are consistent with allegations she made.


The case is reportedly being investigated as a domestic violence case, given that the two were previously in a relationship. In addition to other changes, the man faces a charge of strangulation, and various drug-related charges. He was arrested and will appear in court next week.

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"Of paramount importance to us, though, is the welfare of this particular young lady," Hart said. "What she's experienced is no doubt horrific and terrifying, and we commend her for taking the opportunity to speak to our police."

The victim's British passport was damaged by her alleged captor, Hart said. She will stay in Australia until her documents are replaced.

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