Backpacker’s horror escape from pig shed

 

Warning: Distressing content.

It was the snap decision that a Belgian backpacker credits as saving her life.

Travelling to Australia for the adventure of a lifetime in February 2017, Davine decided to post an ad on Gumtree looking for farm work during her trip.

The post, however, attracted a monster.

Responding to the advertisement was 54-year-old hobby farmer Gene Charles Bristow, who lured the young backpacker to his 40-hectare property in Meningie, about 140 kilometres southeast of Adelaide.

After being picked up at a bus stop at Murray Bridge, Mr Bristow drove the 24-year-old to his property, stopping at a filthy old pig shed that sat away from his home.

Gene Bristow’s pig shed where he kept victims. Picture: SAPOL
Gene Bristow’s pig shed where he kept victims. Picture: SAPOL

Once inside, Mr Bristow asked to check the soles of her feet for needle marks before pressing a replica gun against her shoulder and threatening to shoot her if she tried to leave the farm.

Sitting down with Channel 9's 60 Minutes, Davine has spoken for the first time about her abduction and the horrors she experienced while shackled inside the pig shed.

"I was struggling and then he put something against my back and I thought it was over," she says through tears while being interviewed by journalist Tara Brown.

Davine has broken her silence about her backpacking experience.
Davine has broken her silence about her backpacking experience.

Mr Bristow kept Davine's presence on his property a secret from his wife and son, who both lived on the farm inside the family home.

The man, who was sentenced to 18 years in jail for his crimes in March, told Davine he was working with others in a kidnapping ring and that she would be shot if she tried to flee.

Gene Bristow’s sofa in the pig shed Picture: SAPOL
Gene Bristow’s sofa in the pig shed Picture: SAPOL

At the time of his sentencing, Davine told the court how Mr Bristow bound her hands behind her back with cable ties, shackled her feet with chains and stripped her naked before sexually assaulting her multiple times.

Speaking of the ordeal, Davine said Mr Bristow told her to "stay still" while she was bound in chains.

"I was struggling and he put something against my back. He said it was a gun." she said.

Inside the shed where Davine was held captive. Picture: SAPOL
Inside the shed where Davine was held captive. Picture: SAPOL

During the exclusive interview, Davine explained how she outsmarted the hobby farmer to break her hands free from the chains by using discarded hooks she found in the pig shed. Once out of the shackles, she gained access to her laptop, sent distress signals on Facebook and contacted police.

According to reports, when police started searching the area, Mr Bristow fully unchained Davine and drove her back to Murray Bridge, where he checked her into a motel and left.

Some of the nails used by Davine to escape. Picture: SAPOL
Some of the nails used by Davine to escape. Picture: SAPOL

During Mr Bristow's month-long trial in March, Davine returned to Australia to give evidence about her ordeal - saying she felt "powerless" like an "animal or slave".

"What happened to me was really horrible, terrifying and deadly," she said in a victim impact statement read by a prosecutor.

"I was afraid I would never see my family again because I thought I would die in Australia.

"I tried not to think of them because it was just too painful but it was because of them that my instincts to survive kicked in."

Mr Bristow was found guilty of one count of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted rape.

Davine's full interview will appear on 60 Minutes on Channel 9 at 8.30pm

Evidence pictures from the trial of Gene Bristow showing the chains recovered from the well. Picture: SAPOL
Evidence pictures from the trial of Gene Bristow showing the chains recovered from the well. Picture: SAPOL

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