Manchester

British backpacker in Australia rescued after texting location to father

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Media captionPolice intercepted the car at Gympie, 90km (55 miles) from the hostel

A British backpacker who says she was held against her will during a car trip in Australia was rescued after texting her location to her father in England.

Mary Kate Heys, 20, had agreed to ride with a man from their hostel in south-east Queensland to Brisbane.

But when he drove in the opposite direction and refused to allow her out, she told her father to call police.

Police intercepted the pair at Gympie, 90km (55 miles) from the hostel, after her father contacted them.

'Freak out'

Ms Heys, from Manchester, told local media the man woke her at 04:30 local time on Monday (18:30 GMT on Sunday) at the Mooloolaba hostel, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

She told 7 News she agreed to go on a road trip to Brisbane with the 22-year-old man from Sweden but he headed in the direction of Cairns.

"[That] is when I started to freak out... I knew it wasn't going to be a nice trip to Brisbane."

Image copyright 7 News
Image caption Mary Kate Heys said she was "terrified" when the man drove towards Cairns

'Call Australian police'

She said she was "so terrified", adding he had "psychotic eyes" and it was "like he'd lost it".

"He was talking about him being an alien with such passion that I actually kind of believed him."

She texted her father in Manchester with her location as well as messages reading: "I need you to call Australian police" and "I've been taken by a man… please hurry".

Ms Heys said: "I literally thought he was going to kill us both... He was so erratic."

The 22-year-old driver, from Sweden, was arrested and taken to hospital for medical treatment.

He will not face charges as Ms Heys withdrew her complaint against him, police said.

"I didn't want him to go to jail - I thought it was a bad place for him."

She added he was being deported back to Sweden.

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