British woman raped, held hostage for two months in outback Australia: police

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A 22-year-old British woman was raped and assaulted a number of times while she was held hostage by a man during a two-month ordeal in the remote outback of northern Australia, police said on Tuesday.

The British backpacker was rescued on Sunday after officers stopped a car in Mitchell, a small rural town more than 550 km (340 miles) west of the Queensland state capital, Brisbane, police said.

The unidentified woman, who was driving the car, had visible injuries to her face and was noticeably distressed, prompting the officers to search the car, police said, and a 22-year-old man was found hiding in a small alcove in the back.

Police allege the woman was attacked repeatedly between Jan. 2 and March 5 after the pair met several months ago and agreed to go on a road trip together, during which she was held against her will.

The unidentified Australian man faced court on Monday, when he was charged with multiple counts of rape, assault and holding the backpacker against her will.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Paul Tait)