Australian man admits kidnap and rape of British backpacker

Marcus Martin, 23, held victim captive during 900-mile road trip through the outback

Austrlia, Car, Rape, Kidnap
Marcus Martin was found hiding in alcove of 4x4 after police stopped the vehicle
(Image credit: News Regional Media. All Rights Reserved)

An Australian man has admitted kidnapping and repeatedly raping a British backpacker during a month-long ordeal after the pair met at a party.

Marcus Martin and the 22-year-old woman, from Liverpool, agreed to go on a road trip together after striking up an acquaintance in Cairns, north Queensland, in early 2017, The Times reports. But after setting off on their journey, he then held her captive for more than 900 miles.

Local man Martin, 23, appeared in Cairns District Court via video link today to plead guilty to three counts of rape and one count of deprivation of liberty, ABC News Australia reports. He had previously pleaded guilty to charges including assault occasioning bodily harm, wilful damage, and strangulation or choking.

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The court heard that his victim was rescued after she “appeared shaken and traumatised at a petrol station in southwest Queensland”, The Daily Telegraph reports. The woman, who has not been named, “failed to pay [for petrol], possibly as part of a deliberate ploy, which prompted the cashier to contact the police”, the newspaper says.

The owner of the petrol station, Beverley Page, told local reporters that she had immediately realised something was wrong.

“She came in, she couldn’t pay for her fuel,” 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 caught up with the 4x4 being driven by the kidnapped woman, Martin was found hiding in an alcove in the rear of the vehicle, ABC reports. He was immediately arrested.

His victim - who arrived in Australia on a working visa in April 2015 - had suffered “facial fractures, bruising, abrasions to her neck and cuts to her body, as well as psychological harm”, according to the BBC.

Speaking shortly after the woman was rescued, Detective Inspector Paul Hart of Queensland Police said: “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.

“What she’s experienced is no doubt horrific and terrifying.”

Martin will return to court in February, when a sentence date will be set, the BBC adds.

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