Though she did not ask for it, the distressed young woman who came into the outback Queensland servo with two black eyes was desperate for help.
The 22-year-old British backpacker wept as she told Mitchell petrol station owner Beverley Page that she could not pay for the fuel. Her wallet, she claimed, had been taken by her ex-boyfriend and he wouldn't give it back.
Ms Page told her to ring him and get her credit card details over the phone, warning she would be forced to call police if she couldn't pay.
The young woman went back out to the four-wheel-drive she had been travelling in and drove off. Knowing nobody would answer the phone at the local police station, Ms Page jumped into her own car and tried to catch up with her.
Instead, she ran into a couple of officers in town and gave them the description and licence plate number of the 4WD.

Ms Page told the ABC that in retrospect, she believed the young woman had been silently willing her to call police.As Australia now knows, Ms Page's actions potentially saved the life of the young Brit, who was allegedly held hostage for two months and repeatedly raped by a 22-year-old Cairns man currently in custody following his arrest last Sunday.
"I really think if you were deliberately going to drive off and not pay for your fuel, you would have just driven off," she said.
"I just wanted to give her the opportunity to be able to pay for it before I had to ring the police on her, because I don't really like doing that."
It's just one of many cases of people having been rescued by strangers who sensed there was more to the story and chose to act rather than turn a blind eye.
The British backpacker met the 22-year-old at a 'bush doof' in Cairns.

THE GIRL ON THE PLANE

Flight attendant Shelia Fedrick was working on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco when something in the cabin caught her eye.
It was a girl who looked 14 or 15 years old and her dishevelled appearance made Ms Fedrick uneasy.
The youngster had greasy blonde hair and crumpled clothes yet her travelling companion was a much older man who was extremely well-groomed.
The difference between them was jarring. Ms Fedrick was also struck by the demeanour of the girl, who she would later say looked like "she had been through pure hell".
The veteran flight attendant instinctively felt something was wrong. Her suspicions were further raised when she tried to chat with the pair and the man became defensive and the girl refused to make eye contact or speak.
She stepped in when she felt the girl was in trouble. She was right.
Convinced that the girl was in serious trouble, Ms Fedrick quickly came up with a plan.
She managed to whisper to the girl to go to the bathroom, where she had left her a note stuck to the mirror.
"She wrote back on the note," Ms Fedrick told NBC News, "and said: 'I need help'."
The flight attendant immediately alerted the pilot who contacted police on the ground.
By the time the flight touched down in San Francisco, police were waiting at the terminal.
It was then revealed the girl was the victim of human trafficking and Ms Fedrick had just saved her life.
"I've been a flight attendant for 10 years and it's like I am going all the way back to when I was in training. And I was like, I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn't even know," she told Florida broadcaster WTSP.
"If you see something, say something."
Ms Fedrick now helps train other flight attendants how to spot victims of sex trafficking and other vulnerable young people who might be in trouble.
Air stewardess Shelia Fedrick, who spotted a girl who was being sex-trafficked on a plane. Photo / Facebook

THE ABUSED GIRLFRIEND

In 2015, a teenager was hailed a hero for going to extraordinary lengths to aid the escape of a woman who had been abducted by a "very dangerous" ex-boyfriend.
Malyk Bonnet, 17, was waiting for a bus home after finishing his shift as a cook at a restaurant in Montreal, Canada, when he noticed a couple arguing, or more precisely a man yelling at a woman.
"The guy was screaming at her, the girl. He wasn't really gentle with her and I started watching because I thought he would hit her, so I approached them a little bit," Malyk told CBC News.
He was asked by the man for a bus fare to the nearby town of Laval and Malyk decided to get some cash from a nearby convenience store. The teen was able to take the 29-year-old woman aside for a few seconds to let her know he would help her.
Malyk told the man he was taking the same route and when the bus stopped for lunch, he offered to buy the pair a meal at a local restaurant.
"My plan was to keep them in a public space where he wouldn't hurt her," he said.
"I decided to be friendly with the man and have him think I was his friend. I played my game and he seemed to trust me."
Unbeknown to Malyk, police were already looking for the woman after a tip-off he had breached a restraining order.
Laval police Lieutenant Daniel Guérin said the man had already been found guilty of assault and death threats against his ex-girlfriend last year, and he was under a court order to stay away from her.
Inside the restaurant, Malyk pretended to go to the toilet and borrowed a mobile phone from a diner and called police, saying he believed he was with someone who had been kidnapped.
Within minutes, police had swarmed the restaurant and arrested the man on the spot.
"He was really surprised, he didn't know that it was me," Malyk said. "So I played my game right."
He said the abducted woman remained silent but the expression on her face when police arrived spoke volumes.
"She was almost crying. She was so happy, so happy not to be with him," he said.
The man was charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault.
Lt Guérin later said that in 24 years of policing, he had never seen anything quite like what Malyk did.
"He managed the situation very well and took good decisions that probably saved the life of this woman," Lt Guérin said.
Police officers were so impressed with the teen that they took up a collection to reimburse the money he had spent for bus fare and food that night. They raised $255.
"I spent like $120, and I didn't think I would see this money again in my life," Malyk said.
He later received a bravery award.THE 'WITHDRAWN' GIRLS
She's one of the few children who have been abducted, only to surface alive decades later and Jaycee Dugard has the "mothers' intuition" of two university patrolwomen to thank for her rescue.
Ms Dugard was just 11 years old when she was shot with a stun gun and kidnapped by evil couple Phillip and Nancy Garrido in 1991.
She spent the next 18 years being held captive in a concealed makeshift prison constructed in the Garrido's backyard in suburban San Francisco. She was raped repeatedly by Phillip Garrido, giving birth to two of his children, the first when she was just 13 years old.
Incredibly, parole officers visited the Garridos home on no less than 60 occasions without coming close to discovering the shocking secret in his garden.
On another occasion a parole officer actually talked to Ms Dugard herself, but failed to recognise her or sense anything amiss.
"It made me feel like he didn't really care,' Ms Dugard later said in an interview with journalist Diane Sawyer.
Another chance of rescue was squandered in 2006 when a neighbour called police to inform them that Phillip Garrido, whom she described as "psychotic with a sex addiction", had children living in a tent in his back yard.
A sheriff's deputy went to the house to investigate, but left after having a conversation with Garrido on his porch.
Former Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf admitted he failed to follow up on the job with the deputy, or question why he had not gone to the back yard to investigate, but was happy to pass the buck.
"I'm of the opinion that he should have had professional curiosity to push beyond just a conversation on the front porch," Sheriff Rupf told reporters later.
"I never talked to this person (deputy). The fact that I did not talk to him should not be seen as a lack of interest."
Salvation for Ms Dugard came in the form of two female officers who came across Phillip Garrido preaching at the University of California's Berkley campus one day in 2009.
Lisa Campbell and Allison Jacobs, both mothers themselves, noticed that the two young girls Garrido had with him looked "withdrawn" and their instincts told them that something wasn't right about the trio.
Unlike dozens of police and parole officers before them, Ms Campbell and Ms Jacobs decided to act on their gut feelings and Ms Dugard was rescued a short time later.
"Just how incredible it is that they spoke up about something they thought was wrong," Ms Dugard later said of the women.
"They saved us. Something I couldn't do myself."

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