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Salt Creek: Judge mentions damage to Aussie repute

May 18, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The rescue of a female Brazilian tourist found naked and screaming for help on a remote Australian beach led to the arrest of an assailant aged 60, who was yesterday convicted over a brutal assault on the woman and her friend at Salt Creek in South Australia and sentenced to 22 years and four months in prison.

Roman Heinze, now 61, was found guilty in South Australia’s Supreme Court of six offences over the attack in February last year. They included aggravated kidnapping, causing harm with intent to cause harm, assault, endangering life and indecent assault.

Justice Trish Kelly told Heinze: “In committing these crimes you have undermined yet again the reputation of this country as a safe, friendly and attractive destination for young backpackers from all over the world.http://www.stevecafeandcuisine.com/

“You have undermined the whole community, the ability to freely enjoy the beautiful wilderness areas in our country.”

The court set a non-parole period of 17 years.

Heinze 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.

During the trial, the jury heard that the German woman was found covered head-to-toe in blood. The two young backpackers had met only days before, through a mutual friend, and decided to travel together.

Heinze was also convicted of indecently assaulting another young woman about two years before the Salt Creek attack, the ABC reported.

The case was 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.

Examples in recent years include:

  • Early 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.
  • 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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