British backpacker who was held captive for a month in Australia and repeatedly raped by face-tattoo
A year into Elisha Greer’s adventure-of-a-lifetime backpacking around Australia, the 21-year-old phoned home to ask a favour. Would her parents, back in Liverpool, consider lending her some money to help her buy a car?
‘It was a thing a lot of backpackers did,’ she explains. ‘I’d already saved half the money, working in pubs and on farms, but needed about £650 more. I’d seen the one I wanted. It was older than me but I fell in love with it.’
Her parents aren’t wealthy (her dad is a site manager for a building firm, her mum works with vulnerable youngsters), but didn’t need much convincing. After all, what price can you put on a daughter’s security?
Elisha says safety was the deciding factor. ‘I tried my dad first — I’m a proper daddy’s girl — and I remember saying: “If I have a car, I won’t be hitch-hiking any more.” Immediately my mum said to my dad: “Get her a car.” ’
Elisha Greer’s adventure-of-a-lifetime backpacking around Australia turned sour after she met Marcus Martin
Yet by the cruellest of ironies, it was the car that ultimately led her into danger when she met another traveller who needed a lift.
That young man was Marcus Martin — not that Elisha will use his name. (‘I can’t say it. I can’t even bear to hear it,’ she says.)
Martin, 24, is now in prison in Australia after pleading guilty to abducting and raping Elisha and will be sentenced later this month. Here, in her first newspaper interview, Elisha has decided to share the full details of her ordeal.
The bare outline of his crime is astonishing enough. After holding Elisha against her will, sexually abusing her and throwing away her contraception in a bizarre bid to get her pregnant, Martin forced her on a 1,000-mile, three-day road trip across Australia — making her drive at knifepoint in her own car.
Hearing Elisha catalogue the injuries he inflicted is even more horrifying. Over a period of three weeks before that terrifying cross-country drive, Martin attacked her repeatedly.
She points to a scar on her nose, another above her eye. ‘He shattered my nose so that it had to be rebuilt in hospital. The cartilage exploded out the side. He tried to gouge out my eyes. He smashed my legs so I could hardly walk.’
Martin, 24 (pictured), is now in prison in Australia after pleading guilty to abducting and raping Elisha and will be sentenced later this month
He held Elisha against her will, he sexually abusing her, bashing her and threw away her contraception in a bizarre bid to get her pregnant. ‘He said outright he wanted to get me pregnant. His way of keeping me, I suppose’
She believes around 100 people must have seen her battered face — shockingly recorded in police photographs — in the final days she was in his clutches.
She was too afraid to call for help, she explains, but made desperate attempts to communicate her distress to strangers. ‘When he had me in the car, I would try to make eye contact with anyone and just stare out the window — the sort of look that forces someone to ask: “What are you looking at?”
‘But people would just look away. One time, in the toilets of a McDonald’s, a little girl asked her mum: “What’s wrong with that lady’s face?” Her mum told her to be quiet and hurried her away. I wonder if she will read this now?’
And yet it’s hard to blame strangers for failing to act because at no point did Elisha clearly ask for assistance. There were chances — she even had a slit in her eyebrow stitched up in A&E. At one point she did try, scribbling a note in a hotel visitors’ book.
But not once did she scream for help. Even when police became involved — not because she was in distress but as the result of an unpaid petrol bill — Elisha initially stayed mute. Why?
‘Fear,’ she says. ‘I genuinely thought he would kill me himself, or he would have me killed. He manipulated me. He made me feel I had no choice but to go along with him. Why did I do it? Because I wanted to live.’
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