Australia

Man jailed for 'depraved' backpacker attacks in Australia

Salt Creek attacker Roman Heinze Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Roman Heinze was described a lacking "any moral compass whatsoever"

An Australian man who brutally attacked two backpackers on a remote beach has been jailed for at least 17 years.

Roman Heinze, 61, bound and indecently assaulted a Brazilian woman before mowing down her German friend with his car in South Australia last year.

He was sentenced on Wednesday for attacking the women, both 24, and an assault on another backpacker in 2014.

A judge told Heinze his actions were "utterly depraved" and he had harmed Australia's reputation as a safe place.

"Yours is not the conduct of a civilised human being but an enraged and somewhat primitive man lacking any moral compass whatsoever," Justice Trish Kelly said in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

"In committing these crimes you have undermined yet again the reputation of this country as a safe, friendly and attractive destination for young backpackers from all over the world."

How ordeal unfolded

Heinze had answered an advert the German woman posted on Gumtree, a classifieds website, seeking a ride from Adelaide to Melbourne.

He drove the pair to the beach at Salt Creek, where they set up tents, and during the afternoon the German woman fell asleep in Heinze's 4x4 vehicle.

Image copyright ABC/Dean Faulkner
Image caption The attack happened on a remote stretch of South Australian beach

The former chef then took the Brazilian woman to a section of beach on the promise of seeing kangaroos.

Instead, he tied up her wrists and ankles with rope, cut off her bikini with a knife, punched and sexually assaulted her.

When the German woman woke to her companion's screams, she tried to intervene but Heinze struck her repeatedly with a hammer.

As she tried to run, the Adelaide man climbed into his vehicle and ran her down with his bull bar.

The ordeal ended when nearby fishermen heard the Brazilian woman's screams.

'Perverted' motive

Heinze was found guilty in March of six charges over the Salt Creek incident, including indecent assault, aggravated kidnapping and endangering life.

He was also convicted of indecently attacking another backpacker in an Adelaide home two years earlier.

Justice Kelly sentenced Heinze to a maximum sentence of 22 years and four months in prison. He will be eligible for parole after 17 years.

The judge told Heinze he committed the attacks "solely in pursuit of the gratification of your own perverted sexual fantasies and desires".

She warned other women to be cautious when using the internet to organise travel.

Heinze has appealed against the verdict.

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