Man pleads guilty to kidnapping and raping British backpacker in Australia

Jonathan Pearlman
A four-wheel drive vehicle is parked at the police station in Roma, Australia - AP

A 23-year-old man has pleaded guilty to the rape and kidnapping of a British backpacker in Australia after holding her captive during a brutal 900-mile road trip across the outback

Appearing via video in a court in Cairns in north Queensland, Marcus Allyn Keith Martin pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and one count of deprivation of liberty following his horrific treatment of a 22-year-old British traveller spanning about two months in 2017.

The woman was rescued after she appeared shaken and traumatised at a petrol station in south-west Queensland. She failed to pay possibly as part of a deliberate ploy which prompted the cashier to contact the police.

Beverley Page, the owner of the petrol station, later said she immediately realised something was wrong.

“She came in, she couldn’t pay for her fuel,” Ms Page said. “She was crying and shaking the whole time — she was really upset. There were two marks on her neck along with the black eyes.” 

When police located Martin’s four-wheel-drive near the outback town of Mitchell, a small rural town about 900 miles south of Cairns, they reportedly discovered Martin hiding in an alcove in the back.

The pair reportedly met at a dance party outside Cairns before starting a relationship. 

The woman, who arrived in Australia on a working visa in April 2015,  told police that Martin had begun abusing her shortly after they met.

Detective Inspector Paul Hart said the backpacker showed remarkable courage and had no real opportunity to escape.

“What she's experienced is no doubt horrific and terrifying,” he said in 2017. 

A four-wheel drive vehicle is parked at the police station in Roma, Australia Credit: AP

“She is a tourist, a lot of the areas where she would have been would have been unknown to her, and she wouldn't have known anyone there, so it would have been difficult for her to make an escape.”

Following Martin’s guilty plea, prosecutors discontinued ten other charges including eight counts of rape, one of serious cruelty to animals, and torture.

Martin earlier pleaded guilty to supplying dangerous drugs, wilful damage, assault occasioning bodily harm and choking or strangulation.

He has been remanded in custody and will appear in court next February at a hearing to set his sentencing date.