A 22-year-old British woman was raped and assaulted a number of times while she was held hostage by a man during a two-month ordeal in the remote outback of northern Australia, police said on Tuesday.
The British backpacker was rescued on Sunday after officers stopped a car in Mitchell, a small rural town more than 550 km (340 miles) west of the Queensland state capital, Brisbane, police said.
The unidentified woman, who was driving the car, had visible injuries to her face and was noticeably distressed, prompting the officers to search the car, police said, and a 22-year-old man was found hiding in a small alcove in the back.
Authorities say she had been “held against her will and seriously assaulted over a period of several weeks”.
Police said the pair met three months ago and agreed to go on a road trip, but it all went horribly wrong with the woman repeatedly attacked between January 2 and March 5 at various locations.
The man has been charged with a string of offences including four counts of rape, eight of assault, four of strangulation, and two of deprivation of liberty.
“The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries including facial fractures, bruising and cuts to her body,” police said, with the man remanded in custody to appear in court at a later date.
Australia is a popular destination for young backpackers, with around 600,000 touring the country every year.
They occasionally run into trouble, most famously in the early 1990s when seven were murdered by Ivan Milat in a series of killings that terrified Australia.
Milat is serving consecutive life sentences after the remains of two Britons, three Germans and two Australians were found buried in a forest southwest of Sydney.