An Adelaide man has faced court charged with allegedly raping, assaulting, kidnapping and attempting to murder two young foreign backpackers at an isolated stretch of the Coorong National Park.
Two women in their early 20s were flown to the Flinders Medical Centre with serious injuries and remain in hospital in a stable condition.
Superintendent James Blandford said the two women had been driving “with a newly-acquainted person” and “effectively found themselves in a situation that has turned out to be scary and physically bad for them”.
“One of the victims was able to run away and came across some people fishing in the area,” he said.
“They were able to comfort and secure her and make a call to the police.
“Given the nature of the charges, [the alleged victims’] situation was obviously very dire and they were somewhat distressed.”
He said both women were foreign backpackers. They had stopped in the area at Salt Creek and were planning to spend the night.
The accused man, 59, faced Adelaide Magistrates Court via a video link from Murray Bridge on Wednesday, wearing a white hospital gown and handcuffed to a wall.
His head was bowed and he did not speak during the hearing.
Lawyers said they wanted to seek a home detention bail report, but withdrew the application after Magistrate Paul Foley said he would need persuading given the serious nature of the charges.
The accused man’s identity was suppressed, along with any information which could identify him or his vehicle, how he met the alleged victims and other details of their communications.
Superintendent Blandford said the Coorong terrain was “difficult and harsh”.
He said witnesses and members of the public had assisted police in being able to locate the accused man and make their arrest.