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Man convicted of attack on two young backpackers

March 31, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The rescue of a female Brazilian tourist found naked and screaming for help on an Australian beach led to the arrest of a 60-year-old man, who was later charged over a frenzied attack on two young female overseas backpackers at Salt Creek in South Australia’s Coorong region.

The man, who cannot be named because the Supreme Court has suppressed his identity, has now been found guilty of six out of seven serious charges. He had been accused of sexually assaulting a Brazilian woman and bludgeoning a German woman with a hammer at Salt Creek, east of Adelaide, in February 2016.

He was found not guilty of attempted murder but guilty on charges involving aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, intentionally causing serious harm and endangering life.

The court heart lurid testimony during the trial. As well as the Brazilian backpacker naked and distressed on the beach, another backpacker, a German woman, was found covered from head to toe in blood.

During the 11-day trial, the court was told that the two women, each now aged 24, thought they were going to die during the attack, ABC News reported. They had met for the first time only days beforehand through a mutual friend and decided to travel together to see the sights along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne.

The man was remanded in custody for sentencing submissions at a later date.

The case is the latest in a series of unrelated violent assaults to threaten Australia’s tourism image as a safe haven in a volatile and unpredictable world.

Tourism Australia points out: “Australia is generally a safe destination with travellers enjoying unhindered travel experiences in terms of their personal safety and security.”

Against the trend are occasional strange and sinister happenings involving tourists, widely reported. Examples in recent years include:

  • Earlier this year, a 22-year-old female British backpacker is rescued by police during a random traffic stop in outback Queensland. She had allegedly been held hostage for two months and repeatedly raped, bashed and semi-strangled. A Far North Queensland man has been charged with four counts of rape, eight counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, four counts of strangulation, two counts of wilful damage, two counts of deprivation of liberty, one count of possessing dangerous drugs, one count of possessing drug utensils and one count of obstructing police.
  • A young female Belgian backpacker in Australia posts an advertisement on the Gumtree internet buy-and-sell website, asking for work in Victoria. She ends up being rescued by police in South Australia. A 52-year-old man has been charged (in February 2017) over her alleged sexual assault and with illegally detaining her on a property east of Adelaide.
  • Quick-thinking late-night beachgoers at Byron Bay tackle and hold a man aged in his 40s after an attempted sexual assault on a 27-year-old female British tourist. A man is later charged.
  • A young British female backpacker staying at a Mooloolaba hostel is woken by her 22-year-old male Swedish friend and taken for a drive. When she realises the man won’t stop and appears to be convinced he is an alien from outer space, she texts her parents in the UK who contact police. Police stop the car and rescue the backpacker.
  • British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung is stabbed to death at a hostel in Home Hill south of Townsville in September 2016. Fellow backpacker Tom Jackson bravely attempts to defend her but dies from stab wounds in hospital days later. A French national of Algerian extraction, 29-year-old Smail Ayad, is charged over the murders.
  • The brutal slaying and rape of French student Sophie Collombet, whose naked body is found in an inner-Brisbane rotunda, shocks the city. Benjamin James Milward pleads guilty to the murder in October 2016.
  • An Australian man is jailed for raping a young Dutch backpacker and imprisoning her for six weeks in the shower of his hotel room at Melbourne’s Rydges Bell City hotel. Alfio Anthony Granata, 47, pleads guilty to multiple rapes, threats to kill  and intentionally causing serious injury. He is jailed in May 2015 for 17 years, with a non-parole period of 13 years.

Written by Peter Needham

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