BACKPACKER Lena Rabente was so savagely beaten by Salt Creek kidnapper Roman Heinze, the 25-year-old thought she would die at the remote South Australian camp spot - until she was hit with an idea which saved her life.

Heinze, 61, had been in pursuit of Rabente in his 4WD for over a kilometre, knocking her over with his bull bar on four separate occasions, as the petrified young woman darted her way through the low-lying shrubs, like a frightened rabbit.

But as her legs and spirit were about to give in, Rabente suddenly stopped running.

Instead, she rushed towards the vehicle, catapulting herself on to its roof.

"I got weaker and weaker - I knew I couldn't go on for this for very long," Rabente told 60 Minutes in her first interview since the terrifying event in February last year.

"So, when he turned around the next time and was facing me with the car, I thought, like, 'OK, I have to do something, because I can't keep on going'.

"And so I pretty much ran towards the car and just jumped on the bonnet, and I was holding myself on the antenna of the car, and then pushing myself up on the bonnet, and then straight going on to the roof, because I thought, like, 'OK, I'm safe on the roof. He can't get on the roof'."

German backpacker Lena Rabente returns to the scene of the attack with 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown.
German backpacker Lena Rabente returns to the scene of the attack with 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown. Channel 9

Heinze tried to clamber on to the roof after Rabente, waving the hammer he had used to beat her so badly.

Rabente then tried to kick him in the face.

Desperate to dislodge the young German woman from his roof, Heinze sped through the sand dunes, Rabente determinedly holding on, in a scenario she likened to a "rodeo".

He then stopped and negotiated a deal - he would get rid of the two hammers and the knife if she would get back into the car.

Heinze then drives past a group of fisherman on the beach - who notice Rabente's injuries.

The fishermen then pursued the 4WD, eventually rescuing the young woman.

Rabente later would be flown from the scene unconscious.

Salt Creek survivors Lena and Beatriz.
Salt Creek survivors Lena and Beatriz. Channel 9

Speaking of her injuries, Rabente said: "It was like a blood rain. It kept on dripping on to the roof."

"That's when I knew, like, it's really serious, because it just kept on dripping. Didn't stop," she told 60 Minutes reporter, Tara Brown.

Her friend Beatriz (last name suppressed) had also been rescued by another group of fisherman, after she emerged from the bushes where she has been hiding naked after Heinze had beat and sexually assaulted her.

The two women had befriended each other while travelling around Australia and had accepted a lift from Heinze after posting an ad on Gumtree.

In May, Heinze was jailed for 22 years after being found guilty of six charges including indecent assault, aggravated kidnapping and endangering life.

He is currently appealing the decision.

News Corp Australia

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