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Australia French tourists speak of fear, anguish after kidnapping by Adelaide teenagers

06:25  23 march  2020
06:25  23 march  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a person standing in front of a window: A French tourist was kidnapped and sexually humiliated in December 2018. (ABC News: Carl Saville) © Provided by ABC NEWS A French tourist was kidnapped and sexually humiliated in December 2018. (ABC News: Carl Saville)

Caution: This article contains details that may be distressing for some readers.

A French tourist says she felt shame over her "status as a victim of sexual assault" after being forced to do humiliating acts by a teenager during a kidnapping and armed robbery in Adelaide.

French tourist Alice* has detailed her fear, anguish and shame in a letter to the South Australian District Court after being kidnapped and threatened by two Adelaide teenagers in December 2018 only weeks after arriving in Australia.

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She was also sexually humiliated by one of the youths, who was 15 at the time.

"There isn't a day where I don't think about what happened. I lied to my family because I am ashamed about my status as a victim of sexual assault," she wrote in her victim impact statement, read to the court today by prosecutors.

"I often have dreams or nightmares about what happened — I feel dirty and defiled for having been forced to do all of that in front of that guy.

"I relive that horrible day when I thought I was going to die."

Alice and fellow French tourist Louis* had only been in Australia for two weeks when they agreed to go into an Adelaide home to buy some cannabis from two teenage boys, aged 15 and 16.

Instead, the boys — who were armed with a hunting knife and hammer — held them against their will and threatened them in a bid to steal their money and phones.

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The court was today told that the tourists were blindfolded before the older offender took Louis to an upstairs toilet, while the younger offender — referred to as the ringleader — sexually manipulated Alice.

It heard the ordeal took place over 25 minutes before they were released.

Both boys plead guilty to charges

The 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty in the Youth Court to the kidnapping and robbery, while the 15-year-old pleaded guilty over the kidnapping, robbery and to one count of compelling a person to sexually self-manipulate.

"Everyday while I was still in Australia, I imagined coming across my aggressor and getting my revenge somehow, humiliate him, as he humiliated me," Alice wrote in her statement.

"There were days when I thought I would go to his parents, and ask them how their child could possibly do that.

"I will never forget the way he looked at me, what he ordered me to do, my fear and the fact I did nothing — I did not defend myself, even though I believed it was safer not to."

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In his statement, Louis said he felt "guilt" for voluntarily going into their house after only just meeting the boys.

"I realised afterwards how bad that idea was," he stated.

"Prior to that, I had not really been confronted with any kind of violence or physical threats and that is why I went inside with little hesitation — not expecting for one moment that would happen.

"The fact that we obeyed their demands when they threatened us, let me think that we would leave without being subjected to any physical aggression. That was the case for me, but not for [Alice].

"We told them we would give them whatever they wanted.

"The one who seemed to be the leader put some music on and started taunting us and dancing in front of us, as if he was having a good time.

"The leader did not appear to be mentally stable at the time — he switched from being calm to very angry and without any apparent reason."

He wrote that the ringleader put a knife to his throat, threatening him.

"We came across bad people at the wrong time," he wrote in his statement.

"The police helped us by telling us repeatedly that this type of incident is rare and that we should not be afraid during the rest of our trip."

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Ringleader was consuming cocaine daily

Samuel McDonough, for the younger teen and "ringleader", told the court this his client was consuming cocaine on a daily basis and was under the influence of drugs at the time of the kidnapping and sexual assault.

"We don't say that as a defence, merely to contextualise — his use of drugs at the time is a significant contributing factor," he said.

He said the boy would not ordinarily get involved in "depraved and mindful violence".

Andrew Williams, for the older boy, told the court that his client did not know that the female victim was being sexually manipulated, and participated in the robbery because of a "misguided sense of loyalty" to his friend.

He said the boy was "shocked" when he was told by police what had happened downstairs.

Judge Paul Slattery will decide whether the boys should be sentenced as youths or adults in May.

If you have experienced sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

*Not their real names

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