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'Silence of the Lambs' rapist to leave Australia


A British man convicted of torturing and raping a young woman in a case which drew parallels to the film "The Silence of the Lambs" Monday lost his fight against deportation from Australia.

Leslie Neil Cunliffe was released from jail on parole in April after serving some 12 years for his crimes but Australian authorities subsequently cancelled his visa and commenced proceedings to have him deported.

The 63-year-old on Monday lost his fight to have his expulsion overturned, when Federal Court Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton refused his appeal, a spokesman for the court told AFP.

Cunliffe was dubbed the "Silence of the Lambs" rapist by Australian authorities after he posed as a policeman in 1999, abducting a 21-year-old woman at gunpoint and locking her in a backyard shed with padded walls.

The woman was tied to a chair which had been bolted to the floor and her eyes and mouth taped shut during the ordeal in which she was raped and tortured over several hours in the property in Geelong, west of Melbourne.

Cunliffe eventually strapped a fake bomb to her, stripped her from the waist and took photos to demand a Aus$1 million (US$1.07 million) ransom.

The woman escaped after Cunliffe went out to buy food and a woman heard her screams for help.

In cancelling his visa last year Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said he had considered the case closely.

"I read all the file notes and all the case history and came to conclusion that I did: that he's not somebody who's fit and proper, of good character to stay in Australia," he said.

The 1991 thriller "The Silence of the Lambs" is about a young FBI recruit hunting a serial killer who skins his victims and her cat-and-mouse game with another psychopath who is helping her understand the mind of the killer.