Australian man killed, Filipina woman gang raped in remote area of Papua New Guinea


Dancers in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.


Chris Jackson

An Australian man has reportedly been killed and a Filipino woman gang raped by a mob in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands.

Robert Purdy, 62, from Melbourne, was shot at point blank range on Monday morning after a group of up to 10 men confronted him at a house on the outskirts of Mount Hagen.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation cited PNG police as saying that a motive for the murder was not yet clear, but that no valuable items were removed.

Superintendent Martin Lakari said Purdy died instantly.

Highlands Divisional commander Teddy Tei told the Post Courier newspaper:

"I condemn the actions of these animals. This is inhumane. We are investigating this very serious incident which is likely to have severe ramifications on the country’s image."

Mount Hagen was the scene of a brutal killing in February when villagers stripped naked Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old mother, and set her on fire in front of a crowd.

They alleged that she had used sorcery to kill a child. Police and firefighters were outnumbered by onlookers and unable to intervene.

There is a widespread belief in sorcery in the poverty-stricken Pacific nation where many people do not accept natural causes as an explanation for misfortune, illness, accidents or death.

Purdy understood to have been working in construction while in PNG, having previously operated a towing business, Cobra Towing, on Queensland's Gold Coast.

The woman was taken to Mount Hagen hospital for treatment.