CRIME

French tourist stabbed to death at remote rest stop in Australian outback

The suspect fled the scene but was arrested on Thursday morning after an overnight manhunt

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 12:44pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 10:28pm

A French tourist has died after being stabbed in the neck at a remote outback rest stop in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The 33-year-old man and his wife had stopped at Connor Well on the Stuart highway, about 100km north of Alice Springs, on Wednesday afternoon when it is believed they were approached by a 35-year-old man.

“The man has allegedly then stabbed the male tourist to the neck, in an unprovoked attack,” detective superintendent Travis Wurst told a media conference in Darwin on Thursday.

Police will continue to speak to a number of witnesses to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the death
Detective superintendent Travis Wurst

St Johns paramedics attended but the victim died at the scene. The man’s “traumatised” partner was being treated for shock at Alice Springs hospital.

The suspect fled the scene but was arrested on Thursday morning after an overnight manhunt. Police have not yet given any details about his identity.

Detectives believe the remote rest stop was empty except for the victim, his wife and the suspect at the time of the attack.

A motorist who came upon the scene then drove 30km to the nearest roadhouse to raise the alarm, contacting emergency services at about 5.30pm on Wednesday.

The attacker had already fled in a silver Hyundai hatchback but was stopped by police at Ti Tree, about 90km to the north, where officers recognised the car’s Victoria-registered number plate. He then fled into the bush, prompting police to establish road blocks on the highway and launch an overnight land search. A helicopter was deployed at first light and the man was located and arrested at about 8.30am on Thursday.

“A crime scene will remain in place for the remainder of today,” said Wurst. “Police will continue to speak to a number of witnesses to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the death. The partner of the victim is currently at Alice Springs hospital where she is being treated for shock.

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“This is an absolutely devastating occurrence for her and for the family of the deceased as well. Our hearts go out to her and her family, and as far as the Northern Territory police are concerned we’ll investigate this matter thoroughly and efficiently and bring this offender to justice.”

Connor Well is situated about 30km south of the remote town of Aileron on the Stuart Highway, which runs through the centre of Australia from Darwin to the coast of South Australia.