A pedestrian walks near a foreign backpacker as he carries his belongings past a bus stop in central Sydney, Australia, May 17, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray
ADELAIDE, Australia — A man who subjected two backpackers to a violent attack on a remote Australian beach was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison.
Roman Heinze, 61, was previously found guilty on six charges including indecent assault, aggravated kidnapping and endangering life in the 2016 assault of two women in South Australia. During the attack, he sexually assaulted one of the women before beating her friend in the head with a hammer and repeatedly ramming her with his four-wheel drive as she tried to flee for help.
South Australia Supreme Court Justice Trish Kelly dubbed Heinze "utterly depraved" as she handed him a 22-year prison sentence for the attack on the women, who are from Brazil and Germany, and for several other earlier offenses. He will be eligible for parole in 17 years.
Kelly told Heinze the attacks were committed "solely in pursuit of the gratification of your own perverted sexual fantasies and desires."
Heinze met the women through a classified advertising website, where one of them had been looking for a ride to the city of Melbourne. He drove them to an isolated beach in the Coorong National Park and set up camp.
He then tied up the Brazilian with rope and sexually assaulted her, before bashing her friend in the head with a hammer. Despite blood streaming into her eyes, the German woman fled across the sand on foot. Heinze got into the four-wheel drive and chased after her, hitting her with the car and knocking her to the ground several times. She then jumped onto the roof of the car and hung onto the roof racks as Heinze tried to fling her off. She eventually managed to escape.
Heinze was also sentenced for an indecent assault in 2014 against another backpacker, who he had also offered a ride, and for breaching a bond condition in relation to a 2014 assault on another woman.
There have been a string of high-profile attacks on foreign tourists in Australia in recent years. In March, a British backpacker who officials say had been sexually assaulted and held captive for weeks in the Outback was rescued after police pulled over the car she was driving.