The defence lawyer for a man accused of kidnapping and raping a European backpacker has questioned why the woman did not run from her alleged captor when she had the chance.
- Mr Bristow is accused of shackling a backpacker with chains in a pig shed
- The alleged victim says she unchained herself to send distress messages with a laptop
- Mr Bristow’s lawyer has questioned why she did’t run when she had the chance
Gene Charles Bristow, 54, is standing trial in Adelaide’s District Court after pleading not guilty to aggravated kidnapping, rape and indecent assault.
Prosecutors allege he lured a 24-year-old woman to his 40-hectare property at Meningie after responding to an advertisement she posted online on Gumtree looking for farm work.
They allege he shackled her with chains in an old pig shed and threatened to shoot her if she tried to leave.
During her evidence the woman said the accused told her that he was working in collaboration with other men who kidnap girls, pump them with drugs and ship them to Sydney or Melbourne.
In his cross-examination, Mr Bristow’s lawyer Nick Healy said the backpacker was never held at the farm against her will.
“He never chained you up or restrained you in any way, he never sexually assaulted you in any way,” he said.
“At no time did Mr Bristow tell you about these other people who would ship girls in shipping containers to Sydney or Melbourne.
“You have made up your evidence about being restrained and sexually assaulted.”
‘Why didn’t you seek help?’
Mr Healy told the court the woman legitimately worked on the farm helping his client to look after cattle and only wanted to leave because she “couldn’t handle the conditions”.
Q: “You said to Mr Bristow — ‘look, I don’t think I can do this kind of work, it’s too hot, it’s too uncomfortable’ and you asked him to find out times the bus went back to Adelaide from Murray Bridge,” Mr Healy said.
A: “I never helped him with any work,” she replied.
Mr Healy said his client asked the backpacker if she was okay “to camp” in the shed.
“Your response was: ‘I have stayed in worse places in my travels’,” he told the court.
The trial previously heard the woman managed to unchain herself during the night and used a laptop to send distress messages to family, friends and South Australian police.
The woman told the court she then re-shackled herself because she was too scared to run away.
Q: “When you managed to free yourself so you could get your laptop why didn’t you start walking? Why didn’t you start seeking help?” Mr Healy said.
A: “I was too scared to run off … that other people would just grab me,” she replied.
The prosecution allege Mr Bristow became nervous when police started searching the area for a missing backpacker and drove her to a motel in Murray Bridge — telling her to catch a bus to Adelaide and fly home.
Along the way, it is alleged he left the woman on the side of the road for about 15 minutes while he changed cars.
Victim says accused was very manipulative
Mr Healy told the court the woman decided to wait rather than trying to raise the alarm because she was not scared of Mr Bristow.
“You made no attempt to go to that building you saw to see if anyone was there,” he said.
He also questioned why she did not contact police as soon as her alleged captor left the motel.
She told the court the accused was very manipulative and she believed his claims that the police were “corrupt” and part of the scheme.
“I didn’t know which police were good and which weren’t,” the backpacker said.
“I would only feel safe when I was home, I didn’t trust anyone else.”
The court heard once she checked into the motel, the woman contacted her family to send her money for a ticket home and then went to McDonalds to buy something to eat.
She was spotted by an off-duty police officer walking back to the motel.
The trial before a jury of 12 continues.