Police find attempted rape victim's car on country road

UPDATE: Police have located the car of a woman who escaped an attempted rape alleged to have been committed by a man to whom she offered a lift.

Gatton police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Tom Missingham said the woman's car was found on Forest Hill-Blenheim Rd, south-east of Gatton, shortly before 2pm.

A 52-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault while armed, assault with intent to commit rape, deprivation of liberty, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing and unlicensed driving after a 29-year-old woman agreed to drive him from a Withcott service station to Laidley on Monday night.

It alleged is the man drove away in the woman's car an hour later after she escaped an attack while parked on Whitehouse Rd at Laidley Heights.

He was arrested later on Monday night in the Gatton CBD but the car was the subject of an extensive search.

EARLIER: A Toowoomba man has been charged over the attempted rape of a 29-year-old Lockyer Valley woman who offered him a lift from the Freedom Fuels service station at Withcott.

The search for the woman's car is a high priority for police who have been scouring the area between Laidley and Gatton since Monday night's incident.

Gatton police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Tom Missingham said the woman was filling up her car at the service station about 7.30pm when approached by a 52-year-old man who asked for a lift to Laidley.

Snr Sgt Missingham said the man told the woman his vehicle had broken down.

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"En route he has provided directions and subsequently the driver of the vehicle has sensed that something was wrong," Snr Sgt Missingham said.

Police allege the man demanded the woman stop on Whitehouse Rd at Laidley Heights.

"As a result, a sexual assault has occurred."

He said the woman was held against her will and a knife was used during the attack.

The woman was able to escape, fleeing to a house a few hundred metres away and raising the alarm shortly after 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, police allege the man drove away in the woman's silver 1995 Nissan Pulsar sedan.

Police arrested the man at the intersection of North and Railway Sts in Gatton about two hours later.

He was charged with sexual assault whilst armed, assault with intent to commit rape, deprivation of liberty, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing and unlicensed driving.

The woman's vehicle is yet to be located.

"If anyone sees this vehicle, possibly secreted, in the Laidley to Gatton area, please contact police or Crime Stoppers," Snr Sgt Missingham said.

The accused man, who cannot be named, applied for bail during a brief appearance before Toowoomba Magistrate Court this afternoon.

His solicitor David Burns said his client would contest the charges and he claimed at issue was consent.

Mr Burns said his client was a long-term resident of Baillie Henderson Hospital to where he would return if granted bail.

However, Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck refused bail and remanded the man in custody to appear for mention back in the same court on May 1.



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