Salt Creek horror: Backpacker in Australia 'sexually assaulted while gagged with own bikini'

Paul Wright
Backpakers kidnapped Coorong National Park

A backpacker in Australia was bound and gagged with her own bikini before being sexually assaulted by a man, a court heard.

The horror attack – on a remote beach in Coorong National Park near Adelaide – saw the 60-year-old suspect then bash the victim's friend's head in with a hammer before running over her body with a four-wheel drive, it was said.

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Both victims survived the alleged attacks, which were said to have taken place on 9 February last year.

The suspect appeared in court on Thursday (9 March) having pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, causing harm with intent, endangering life and indecent assault.

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The court was told the incident unfolded after the accused responded to a Gumtree advert from one of the backpackers looking for a ride to Melbourne, 9 News reported.

The suspect instead took the two women – who have not been named for legal reasons, but are aged in their 20s – to the "isolated and remote" Salt Creek campsite, telling them they would be staying the night there, the court was told.

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The prosecution said the man then lured one of the backpackers, a Brazilian national, away from her friend by suggesting they search for kangaroos.

He is then said to have attacked her, throwing her to the ground and cutting off her bikini before using it to gag her. He also tied her arms behind her back with rope before kissing and licking her body, the court heard.

"He punched her in the face, he spat in her face. At that point he shoved her bikini bottom into her mouth in an attempt to gag her," prosecutor Jim Pearce said in court.

He added: "She thought she was going to die. She had to think of a way out."

In a desperate attempt to free herself, the woman told her attacker they might be more comfortable back in their tent, a jury heard.

As he led her back to the camp she began screaming, waking her German friend who saw her fellow backpacker bound and naked.

Running to get her phone, she was said to have been pursued by the man who hit her several times in the head with a hammer.

The suspect – who cannot be named for legal reasons – is alleged to have then run over her with a four-wheel drive vehicle as the bloodied woman tried to flee over the sand dunes.

"He mowed her down," Pearce said. "On one occasion, the car literally ran over her. Fortunately, the wheels went either side of her."

The Brazilian backpacker had meanwhile managed to untie herself and flag down a car containing four fishermen, who called the police. The dazed German woman also managed to flee after the suspect's car became stuck in the dunes.

Defence counsel Bill Boucaut urged the jury to keep an open mind about the case.

"Sometimes things are not always what they appear to be," he said, as reported by The Australian. "The issue will be about whether these things happened the way they say things happened."

The trial continues.

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