UPDATE at 2:00 PM SUNDAY | A MAN has been charged with abducting and sexually assaulting his former partner after allegedly holding her hostage for almost 40 hours on a remote property in northern NSW.
Garry Fletcher, 36, is accused of breaching a domestic violence order and abducting his former partner 33-year-old Sarah Leedham around 3.15am on Friday.
Police issued an urgent public appeal to help find the Hunter Valley woman after she was spotted being held against her will by Fletcher in the small country town of Glen Innes around 8am on Saturday.
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Detectives from four local area commands and officers from the Serious Crime Squad joined forces and saturated the rural area in search for the duo.
Following an extensive operation and after being held hostage for 38 hours, Ms Leedham was found injured on a property off Pinkett Road at Red Range, around 30km east of Glen Innes, just after 5.30pm.
She was taken to hospital for treatment to what police described as being “minor injuries”.
It’s alleged Ms Leedham had been abused and violently sexually assaulted during the terrifying ordeal.
Fletcher was arrested at the scene and last night charged with eight offences, including take/detain person with intent to obtain advantage occasioning actual bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault – deprive liberty (DV).
The 36-year-old was also charged with stalk/intimidate intend fear physical harm (DV), contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO (DV) and two counts of police pursuit drive dangerously.
He was remanded in custody overnight and was due to appear in Armidale Local Court today.
FIRST at 2:30 AM SUNDAY | A WOMAN who was allegedly being held hostage by a man on a remote property in northern NSW has been rescued and her alleged captor arrested by police.
Sarah Leedham, 33, was last seen allegedly being held against her will by 36-year-old Garry Fletcher in the small country town of Glen Innes around 8am on Saturday.
Police issued an urgent public appeal to help find the pair, noting serious concerns for Ms Leedham’s welfare.
A major search was initiated, involving detectives from four local area commands and the Serious Crime Squad.
Almost 10 hours after she was last seen, officers found Ms Leedham on a Pinkett Road property at Red Range.
Police say she was suffering from minor injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Mr Fletcher was arrested at the scene and taken to Glen Innes Police Station where he remained overnight.
No charges had been laid at the time of writing. Investigations into the incident are continuing.
You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.