AP NEWS

Australian jailed to 10 years over British backpacker rape

May 29, 2019

SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian man who kidnapped and repeatedly raped a British backpacker during a monthlong ordeal in the country’s Outback has been jailed for 10 years.

Marcus Allyn Keith Martin, 25, had pleaded guilty in the District Court of Cairns, in the far north of Queensland state, to charges of rape and deprivation of liberty against the 22-year-old woman from Liverpool, England.

Prosecutors told the court the pair met in Cairns in January 2017 and had begun a relationship.

When the relationship soured, Martin subjected the woman to weeks of physical abuse while forcing her to drive him hundreds of miles (kilometers) south and then into the west of the state.

Police intercepted the pair after the woman drove off from a gas station in the town of Mitchell, 380 miles (600 kilometers) west of Brisbane, without paying for fuel. They found Martin hiding in the back of their 4x4 vehicle.

The gas station’s manager, Beverley Page, told reporters at the time that the woman was bruised and battered, and was crying and shaking, as she explained that she couldn’t pay for fuel because her ex-boyfriend had her wallet.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that prosecutor Nathan Crane told the court Martin had tried to isolate the woman on their road trip, including by cutting up her British passport.

“She feared she would be murdered,” Crane said. “She tried to get the attention of other road users as they would drive along and also other service station customers, to no avail.”

The court heard the woman suffered injuries including facial fractures, bruising, abrasions to her neck and cuts to her body, as well as psychological harm.

A defense lawyer for Martin had told the court his client had been taking drugs at the time, which made him “paranoid and psychotic.”

In sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Dean Morzone said Martin would be required to serve at least 80% of his 10-year sentence.