Updated: 07/03/17 : 08:04:13
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World :: Two-month rape ordeal for British backpacker in Australia

A British backpacker was allegedly raped, assaulted and choked during a two-month hostage ordeal in Australia.

The 22-year-old woman was subjected to repeated attacks in locations across vast Queensland, police say.

The ordeal ended on Sunday when police stopped a vehicle being driven by the woman, after she failed to pay for petrol, and saw she had face injuries.

An Australian man who appeared to be hiding was arrested in the back of the vehicle, police said.
What do police allege happened?

Authorities allege the pair met three months ago in Cairns, in Far North Queensland, and began a relationship before agreeing to go on a road trip.

Police say "at some point that [relationship] had soured" and the woman was held against her will. It is alleged she was repeatedly attacked between 2 January and 5 March.

She appeared distressed when the 4x4 was pulled over on a routine stop on the Warrego Highway at Mitchell, more than 1,000km (620 miles) south of Cairns, police said.

Detective Inspector Paul Hart said police immediately detected something was wrong.

"She told police the perpetrator was actually hiding in the vehicle," Insp Hart said.

"Police have then searched the vehicle and found him in the rear compartment amongst property belonging to the pair."

The 22-year-old man, from Cairns, is facing charges including four counts of rape, eight counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, four counts of strangulation and two counts of deprivation of liberty.

Police said the victim was treated for injuries including facial fractures, bruising and cuts to her body.

Insp Hart said the "very prolonged" ordeal had also left her with psychological injuries. She appeared terrified when found, he said.

"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," Insp Hart said.

He described the woman as a tourist who had been in Australia since 2015. She had not been reported missing.

Since Sunday, the woman had made contact with family in the UK and friends in Australia.

"It has taken great courage for our victim in this instance to provide the detail she has," Insp Hart said.

He said the woman would require a new passport because her existing one had been damaged by her alleged attacker.

A British High Commission spokesperson said: "We are supporting a British woman following an incident in Queensland, and remain in contact with the local authorities."

The man is also facing charges of causing wilful damage, possessing drugs and drug equipment, and obstructing police.

He faced the Roma Magistrates Court, about 80km from Mitchell, on Monday.

The man was refused bail to face court again on 23 May, according to Brisbane's Courier Mail.

Police have urged anyone with information to come forward.