Australia

Australian farmer Gene Charles Bristow guilty of raping backpacker

Gene Charles Bristow in handcuffs is escorted by a guard to Adelaide's District Court Image copyright ABC NEWS
Image caption Gene Charles Bristow has pleaded not guilty at his trial

An Australian man has been found guilty of kidnapping and raping a backpacker from Europe and keeping her for two days in a pig shed near his farm.

Gene Charles Bristow, 54, had pleaded not guilty.

The jury took three hours to find him guilty of aggravated kidnapping, rape and indecent assault of the 24-year-old woman in rural South Australia in 2017.

Prosecutors said the victim was chained up in the shed after going to the farm believing she had been given a job.

On the first day of the trial, the District Court of South Australia was told Bristow contacted the woman after seeing an advert she posted looking for work.

He picked her up and drove her to his farm in Meningie, 150km (90 miles) south-east of Adelaide, the jury was told.

Repeated sexual assault

Prosecutor Michael Foundas alleged that Bristow threatened the woman with a fake gun after they arrived at the farm, before locking her up in a pig shed.

According to Australian media, the victim told the court that Bristow tied her hands behind her back, shackled her feet and stripped her naked before sexually assaulting her multiple times.

The shed was out of sight of the family house where Bristow lived with his wife and son.

During the hearing, the defence team said it did not contest that the woman stayed overnight, but rejected she was held against her will and that any sexual assault took place.

The court heard the woman managed to break free at one point and use her laptop to send messages to relatives and police, who began a search.

She then re-shackled herself because Bristow had threatened to kill her if she tried to escape, Mr Foundas said.

According to the prosecution, Bristow dropped the woman at a motel the following day because he was spooked by police search efforts.

Bristow will return to court on Friday for pre-sentencing hearing.

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