In one of the most bizarre and horrific stories to surface for some time, an Australian man has been 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.
The man, Alfio Anthony Granata, 47, pleaded guilty to multiple rapes, threats to kill and intentionally causing serious injury. He was jailed for 17 years, with a non-parole period of 13 years, in Melbourne County Court on Monday.
Granata kept his 21-year-old victim in the shower of his hotel room, room 355, for six weeks, the court heard. He repeatedly raped, assaulted and beat her with a range of items including a rolling pin, a meat tenderiser, a vacuum cleaner and a jet lighter.
Prosecutor Nanette Rogers said Granata claimed to be possessed by demons and the spirit of his dead grandfather.
The crimes took place in 2012 after Granata and his partner, Jennifer Peaston, met the victim at a party in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda and invited her back to their hotel room for three-way sex and to smoke the drug “ice”.
The BBC reported that the victim was freed only after she tried to kill herself on Christmas Day. That had prompted Granata and Peaston to call emergency services.
Earlier this year, a judge found that Peaston had also been traumatised by Granata. Peaston received a good behaviour bond without conviction after pleading guilty to two charges of intentionally causing serious injury.
County Court Judge Frank Gucciardo said Granata’s “vile and repulsive” conduct had left the victim “reclusive and frightened”.
Speaking via video, the Dutch backpacker said she was still heavily scarred from her ordeal.
Neighbours of the hotel had been disturbed by screams and had complained to reception, the court heard. Police visited room 355 twice – but officers were assured everything was fine so did not venture inside, where the victim was cowering in the shower as a hostage.
Earlier press reports of the case said the offences took place in a long-term rental apartment in the hotel complex, which might explain why hotel housekeeping and management remained unaware of what was going on.
Written by Peter Needham