Belgian backpacker ‘locked in pig shed and raped by Australian farmer’

A farmer in Australia accused of brutally kidnapping and raping a backpacker in an abandoned pig shed after responding to her advertisement on Gumtree has pleaded not guilty, saying the alleged assault was an “invention”.

Gene Charles Bristow, a 54-year-old pig farmer, allegedly assaulted the 24-year-old Belgian traveller at his property in the small town of Meningie in South Australia after answering her online post seeking temporary farm work.

Police say Bristow picked her up at a bus stop and drove her to  “an old dirty pig shed” on his farm before tying her up, holding a fake gun to her shoulder and forcing her to undress. Insisting he was “the nice one” and was working with violent “bosses”, he allegedly repeatedly returned to the shed to sexually assault the woman. 

On the following day, he allegedly released her and left her at a motel, where she contacted police.

A court heard that Bristow’s crime, which allegedly occurred in 2017, was premeditated.

"The plan was to lure young female backpackers to his farm where the unlucky victim would be held against their will and sexually abused by him," prosecutor Michael Foundas told the court. 

“Her hands were cable tied at the back, she was chained at the legs, she was naked and he had a gun. He held her there, captive, chained up, naked in an old, dirty pig shed on a remote property in the middle of nowhere.”

But Bristow, who lives on the farm with his family, has denied the claims and pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, rape and attempted rape. His lawyer said the woman had stayed overnight in the pig shed but he claimed there was no sexual contact between the pair and the woman’s account was "an invention that simply did not take place".

The case follows several assaults of backpackers in recent years, which has raised concerns about  the safety of young travellers in remote areas. In November, police in South Australia released a travel pocket guide which includes safety tips for travellers, including advice to research potential farm work locations and employers.

The trial of Bristow continues.

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