Man accused of kidnapping backpacker tied her up in ‘dirty pig shed’, court hears
A man has gone on trial in Adelaide’s District Court accused of abducting and raping a young European backpacker who he held captive in an old pig shed for two days.
- The court heard Mr Bristow responded to the backpacker’s ad on Gumtree
- Prosecutors say he picked her up from Murray Bridge and drove her to his property
- The trial is expected to run for 10 days
Gene Charles Bristow, 54, pleaded not guilty to aggravated kidnapping, rape and indecent assault.
In opening the trial, prosecutor Michael Foundas said Mr Bristow lured the 24-year-old backpacker to his Meningie property, south-east of Adelaide, by responding to an advertisement she posted on the website Gumtree looking for farm work.
He said the woman received a response offering her work feeding and caring for calves on a farm near Murray Bridge, purportedly operated by a company called “Genesis”.
The job offered to pay $20 an hour with “flexible working arrangements” and “free accommodation”.
Mr Foundas told the court arrangements were made for her to be collected from Murray Bridge by a company employee called Max or Mark.
“It’s the prosecution’s case … that there was no farming job, no company called Genesis and no employees named Max or Mark,” he said.
“Rather, this was a premeditated and thought out plan being executed by the accused Mr Gene Bristow.
“A plan to lure a young female backpacker to his farm where the unlucky victim would be held against her will and sexually abused by him.”
The court heard the woman was met at the Murray Bridge Visitor Information Centre by a man who introduced himself as Mark and was driven to a property in Meningie in an old red ute which had a personalised licence plate “Gene01”.
“On the prosecution’s case the man who introduced himself as Mark and picked her up, the only man she dealt with, the man she later identifies in a police identification procedure, was in fact the accused — Mr Bristow,” Mr Foundas said.
It is alleged that instead of taking the most direct route from Murray Bridge to his 40-hectare property at Meningie along the Princes Highway, the accused went a “back way” through the towns of Wellington and Narrung.
Mr Foundas told the jury that the accused made the drive take twice as long to give a false impression to the young backpacker about the remoteness of the farm.
“It also meant the accused was able to enter the town of Meningie and his farming property by a back entrance without having to come through the Meningie town centre and risk the possibility of being seen by locals — being seen driving with an unfamiliar, young woman in the passenger seat of his ute,” he said.
“It’s also the prosecution’s case that by taking this route the accused didn’t have to pass the residential building on his own property where his wife, son or son’s girlfriend might be.”
Victim told ‘she wasn’t the first to be taken’
On the prosecution’s case, Mr Bristow took the woman to an “old, dirty pig shed” which was at the back of his property where he pressed a replica gun against her shoulder and told her not to move.
He then allegedly tied her hands behind her back with cable ties, shackled her feet with chains and stripped her naked before sexually assaulting her multiple times.
Mr Foundas said the accused told the woman he was working in collaboration with others and that she was “lucky” to be held captive by him because others would treat her worse.
“He told her he was the ‘nice one’, he brought her food and drinks and later on even a book and some bug spray,” Mr Foundas said.
“He told her that she had to be good, she had to love him or the others would come and they would hit her and cut her.
“He told her she wasn’t the first to be taken and that he had quotas to meet and that some girls are pumped full of drugs.”
The jury was told the woman managed to break free and used a laptop concealed in her luggage to send distress messages on Facebook to SA Police who started searching the area.
The court heard she then re-shackled herself because the accused had threatened to kill her if she tried to escape.
The prosecution alleged it was the police presence in Meningie that led the accused to unchain the woman and drive her back to Murray Bridge where he checked her into a motel and left.
The court heard there was evidence the accused had been trying to lure backpackers to his property under the guise of farm work for a number of weeks and that he targeted women travelling on their own without a car.
The trial is expected to run for 10 days.