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23 April 2024

Man charged over rape, abduction of Belgian tourist


An Australian man has been charged over the alleged abduction and rape of a young Belgian tourist after responding to her online ad asking for farmwork, police said.

Officers found the 24-year-old woman on Friday after she sent a message to her family overseas that she was "being held against her will", South Australia Police said.

The 52-year-old man was arrested at Meningie, 150 kilometres (93 miles) southeast of Adelaide city, and charged by police with three counts of rape and one count of unlawful detention, investigators said late Saturday.

The tourist, who arrived in the country in December, disappeared after leaving Adelaide for Murray Bridge, southeast of the city, on Thursday.

"(She) placed an ad on Gumtree seeking farmwork," SA Police Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins told reporters.

He added that her alleged attacker had responded to the advertisement.

"She was able to get a message home to her family and they obviously alerted the police... there was (also) a message sent to a friend in Queensland (state)," Hutchins said Friday.

"My understanding is she is still with police. She is well, unharmed. Obviously her family are very grateful... that she is safe."

The man was refused bail and is due to face Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday.