A backpacker lured to an Australian farm, then chained and repeatedly raped managed to send messages about her ordeal over Facebook, which led to her rescue.
The woman, a Belgium national who only identified herself as Davine, recently spoke exclusively to 60 Minutes Australia, recounting the horrific torture she experienced in 2017 while backpacking through Southern Australia.
Gene Bristow, a 54-year-old pig farmer, put an ad out offering a job rearing calves under a fake name, she said.
“He was talking a lot, giving a lot of information about the work, about why he wanted a female to work there,” Davine, then 24, recalled in the interview. “When I think about it now, he just kept playing that part till the very last moment.”
In fact, there was no job. After Bristow picked her up at a bus station, he drove her to his pig shed where she says he grabbed her, pulled out a gun (which turned out to be a replica) and threatened her life before shackling her and raping her repeatedly over two days. As this was going on, Bristow’s wife and son were in a house nearby.
Shackled for days, Davine acted quick when she spotted metal hooks used to bind wool bales in the shed. She found a way to grab them and loosen her shackles. Then, she grabbed her laptop and Wifi stick from her bag and reached out for help over Facebook messenger.
“I described the roads I crossed. I went from Murray Bridge, across two ferries,” she told 60 Minutes Australia. “I was taken in a red pick-up car, that I'm very scared to run off, that he has a gun.”
Her friend and fellow backpacker Echo Wang received the messages and contacted the police. While Davine waited for investigators to track her down and rescue her she shackled herself back up so that her kidnapper wouldn’t get suspicious.
Thankfully, investigators were able to ping her cell phone, and based on that and her description to Wang, they were able to figure out where she was.
“That night I heard planes flying over and I was hoping they were police planes, and they would have infrared or something,” the backpacker said. “Then in the morning again, there were planes flying over. That's what made him panic.”
Police spotted him and began tracking him, leading a paranoid Bristow to unchain her, drive her out of town, check her into a motel and flee. But, he faced the law in the end and was later found guilty of one count of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted rape.
He was sentenced to 18 years in May, the Australian reported.
“I felt terrible and I thought about my family a lot. I thought I wouldn’t see them again and that I would die,” Davine said in a victim impact statement during the trial, according to the Australian.
Davine told 60 Minutes Australia that returning to the country for the interview about her horrific ordeal is a healing experience.
“It's a very important message for me to come back and face how it was because you don't want anyone to ruin the rest of your life,” she said. “Then for me, it would feel like he won and I don't want that at all.”
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