In the Age, 13/08/08
Bound and gagged teen feared for her life
IT WAS a warm Tuesday in March when a Gippsland teenager and her boyfriend set out for a romantic picnic. He picked her up from her parents' house and they began the drive to a waterfall on his family's land.
Not far past the gates their attention was drawn to the carcass of a deer. The young man got out of the car to look around and was gone for a few minutes.
"I started to get worried that he hadn't come back yet," his girlfriend later told police in a statement."Then a guy came up from behind the car … wearing a grey-and-white-coloured balaclava and blue latex gloves."
What followed was an eight-day struggle to survive in some of Victoria's remotest terrain. Bound, gagged and blindfolded, and not knowing what had happened to her boyfriend, the 17-year-old was shoved into the back of the car and covered with a blanket for a long drive.
"When he pulled me out of the car and when he was tying me up, he was shaking more than I was," she said. "The man didn't say anything the whole time. When I tried to talk he put his hands over my mouth to stop me."
She told police: "I was extremely scared. I kept wondering where he would be taking me, why he had taken me and I was trying to think what I or my family may have done to cause someone to kidnap me."
She lay in the back of the car trying to imagine how to get free.
"I thought that I was going to be killed during the drive. When we stopped and I was dragged out of the car and my clothes cut and ripped off me. I also thought that I would be raped before I was killed."
But the mystery abductor disappeared. Her boyfriend, who told her he had managed to free himself, untied her and removed her gag. She was terrified, naked and lost, but together they set out to find their way home.
They took with them a sleeping bag she believed was left behind by their attacker and some food and water.
"During the week that I was with (him) we ate very little … The third day … (my boyfriend) caught a snake. He killed it with a stick, but we were unable to make a fire and therefore we didn't eat it as we didn't want to eat it raw," she said in a statement to police.
"The fourth day I ate blackberries and raw fish. (My boyfriend) was walking in the river and a fish jumped between his feet, (he) grabbed it and killed it. Again we were unable to make a fire so we shared the fish and ate it raw."
The ordeal ended on March 11 when they were found by farmer Ian Minchin on his way home to Wulgulmerang, 130 kilometres from Bairnsdale.
Leading Senior Constable Raymond Moreland said in a statement that the young man had told him he was "hit on the head a number of times" when he got out of his car to check on the deer and had been put semi-conscious in the rear of his own car. "I gained consciousness and located a knife and freed myself and then freed my girlfriend."
After being fed, checked by a nurse and questioned about their abduction, the pair were taken to a motel for the night.
But the next day police charged the young man, alleging that the 22-year-old had staged the abduction to persuade his girlfriend to have sex with him and later marry him.
He appeared in Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court this week charged with seven offences, including kidnapping, abduction with intent to marry and abduction for the purposes of sexual penetration.
The young woman said in a second statement that her boyfriend had asked her repeatedly to marry him and have sex for warmth while they were lost in the bush.
"Basically he told me that if we had sex it would keep us warm and we would have a better chance of survival and that we would be married before God, as we had had sex," she said. "I think that most days he would say it was getting colder and maybe I should reconsider having sex with him to keep warm."
In another statement, she said that for some time their relationship of almost two years had been strained because he wanted to get married, but she would not agree.
Detective Sergeant Rodney Arthur told the court that the man was charged after inconsistencies in his statement were revealed during a visit to the bushland where the pair had allegedly escaped.
The man has reserved his plea and is contesting all charges.
It's such a note-perfect adolescent fantasy. We worried endlessly at weaving these extraordinarily complex scenarios that could conceivably be made to terminate at a point where a girl would fuck us without our having to expose ourselves to the possibility of ridicule inherent in having to ask her. As one might imagine, necrophilia came in quite a lot - the dead can't giggle - but something like this wasn't far behind. Very unusual to carry it through, though - and even then, the poor bugger didn't actually get laid.