How a servo worker's extraordinary actions likely saved a backpacker's life.

When news broke on Tuesday that a 22-year-old British backpacker had been rescued from a two month hostage ordeal allegedly involving rape and beatings, early reports touched on how the discovery was made by police during a routine traffic stop.

The focus of the news was the horror. Much of the public’s response was horror. And if you spent a good deal of time playing each detail over in your mind like an over-worked record, the coincidence of the police just happening to pull over that very car wouldn’t have been so extraordinary. There was too much else to digest.

But in all our disbelief and cracked hearts, we missed a key player in this story. The woman working at an isolated service station who sensed something was awry and refused to rest until it was settled. The woman who forced police to pull that car over and bring a vulnerable 22-year-old living the plot of a horror movie to safety.

Beverley Page.

Beverley Page, a service station owner in a quiet western Queensland town, knew something was off when the young woman set foot in her Caltex service station in Mitchell on Sunday afternoon. She had walked inside after filling her car up with petrol but said she could not pay.

“The girl was crying at the time and our person told her to just go outside and have another look for her wallet and take a deep breath and come back in,” Page told the Courier Mail.

“When she was in the shop, she was crying and shaking the whole time – she was really upset.

“There were two marks on her neck, along with the black eyes.”

We know now, of course, that detectives allege the backpacker was repeatedly raped, held against her will for two months, and endured a 1500km journey through the outback in a four-wheel-drive after meeting her attacker at a music festival. Police also allege the duo were in a relationship before it soured to the point of violence, and a 22-year-old man has since been charged with up to 20 offences relating to her ordeal.

So, after going back to a car she had been held against her will in for months to suss out how she would pay for the fuel, the young woman came back inside to Page. She said she had contacted her ex-boyfriend to help with money.


"I said, ‘Is he the same one that has given you those black eyes?’" Page recalled to The Courier Mail.

“And she said yes, so then I told her that we could ring the police for her.”

That's not what the young backpacker wanted, so she went back outside, got in the car, and drove off. For Beverley Page, the story could have -- and in many other instances would have -- ended there.

After a failed effort to contact police, the servo owner followed the young woman in her car, reported the incident to a police vehicle parked up the street and the 22-year-old was rescued from an ordeal that could have had fatal consequences.

At a time when in every story of evil we look higher and wider for someone who painted a brushstroke of good in an artwork of bad, it would be easy to dismiss Beverley Page as the designated hero in this week's bad news story.

And although she's every bit this week's hero, she's also much more than that.

She's this year's reminder that erring on the side of caution is important. She's this year's reminder we need to keep our heads up, our eyes open, and an unwavering sense of faith in what our gut is telling us. She's this year's reminder that making someone else's business your own might just save their life.

According to Love is Respect, it's important we look out for signs of danger lest they pass us by.

"Reaching out to a victim can provide them with support that they may not be receiving anywhere else. Whether it’s a classmate or a stranger you pass on your morning run, if you witness someone being verbally or physically abused, it’s okay to speak up."

However, they note, be wary they may not respond to you right away. They very likely have "mixed emotions" and are enveloped by "fear".

The best way, they believe, to approach someone you think may be in danger is to "strike up a conversation about anything".

"That could help keep things from escalating and give the victim a chance to seek help if they want it."

According to Our Watch CEO Mary Barry, we all must play a role in preventing violence, and helping people -- even strangers -- escape the clutches of violent men.

"It’s up to all of us to prevent violence against women and their children," she told Mamamia.

Moreover, just as Beverley Page trusted the word of this 22-year-old backpacker, we all need to believe those we come into contact with when they appear to have been hurt or say they're being attacked. It's paramount we trust them.

"The most important thing you can do is listen to her, believe her and make sure she knows you're there to support her," she said.

Involving yourself in a scenario like this one is icky and uncomfortable. There's no doubt our lives are much cushier when we stay in our own lane. But sometimes, acting on the uncomfortable, jumping in someone else's lane and making their trauma your problem can be the difference between life and death.

Because if we all looked up a little more, perhaps it wouldn't have taken two months to save a woman's life.