A TERRIFIED young woman who feared she was being abducted had no choice but to jump from a moving car, a court was told yesterday.
Naomi Madison, 21, of Warrnambool, yesterday gave evidence at the committal hearing of Russell Ian Payne, 41, previously of Koroit, in Warrnambool Magistrates Court. Mr Payne is contesting three counts of kidnapping.
The charges relate to an incident following this year’s Port Fairy Folk Festival.
In a statement tendered to the court yesterday, Ms Madison said she and her 16-year-old brother decided to ride with Mr Payne from Port Fairy to Warrnambool in the early hours of Sunday, March 11, believing he was a security guard working for the Moyne Shire.
However, when he pulled over on the Princes Highway on western outskirts of Dennington and left her brother on the side of the road, Ms Madison said she jumped from the car after Mr Payne said to her “I’m taking you”.
The court heard she leapt out as the car drove off, causing injuries to her ankles, left knee, left side of her head, left shoulder and right elbow.
“My thinking was that I would prefer to jump out of a moving car rather than wait and see what was going to happen to me,” she said in her statement.
She later approached police officers who had pulled over Mr Payne at Dennington.
“I was extremely upset and scared. I couldn’t stop shaking. I just kept saying (to police) ‘that’s the guy that tried to kidnap me’.”
Ms Madison said she had finished work at a supermarket at 10pm before travelling with her brother to the folk festival with a friend.
Ms Madison said she spent time with friends and only had one alcoholic drink for the night, but was late calling a woman who was to drive them home from the festival.
About 2.30am, while sitting at the corner of Bank and James streets with friends, she noticed a green car kept driving past. “He asked what we were doing on the street. Me and my brother said we were waiting for a lift,” she said.
When the car returned she explained that they were stuck in Port Fairy. “I thought he was reliable to ask. He said he was working making sure kids were getting home.”
Under cross-examination, defence counsel Russell Page put it to Ms Madison that at no time did Mr Payne offer to give her a lift. She agreed she had asked for a ride, and assumed Mr Payne was a security guard.
Ms Madison said her brother got in the front passenger seat and she sat behind the driver. She said that on the western outskirts of Warrnambool the driver stopped and asked her brother to get three cans of Jim Beam bourbon out of the boot, but as he was getting out Mr Payne sped off.
“He (the driver) said ‘see you later buddy’. He did a U-turn. I unbuckled my seat belt as soon as he took off. He said he was taking me. I asked him to let me out, I was screaming.
“He was going pretty fast. I opened the door and jumped out. I fell onto the road. As soon as I stopped tumbling I ran.”
Ms Madison said they hid in bushes and then ran across paddocks while Mr Payne drove up and down the road a number of times. She dialled the 000 emergency number, and agreed with Mr Page that she told the operator Mr Payne had said nothing.
Ms Madison said when police arrived she declined the offer an ambulance.
“I was sore all over. I just wanted to go home, I didn’t want to be around people.”
Ms Madison said she went to hospital the next morning before making a statement to police.
The committal hearing before Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt continues today.