Most people can live their entire life tricking people into believing they are someone they aren’t.
This was almost the case for one man who thought he was fooling everyone with his “squeaky-clean” online presence. For years, he led innocent women to believe he was a “trustworthy travel companion.” That was, until, police discovered alarming evidence that shined a light on his true intentions…
Youth In Australia
Heinze was born in West Germany and emigrated to Australia in 1959. He lived in Australia for most of his life with his parents and two older brothers, except for a brief time in the 1970s when they moved back to Germany.
A Rough Time
In 1990, Heinze’s mother died and in 2013, his father’s health began to deteriorate. Heinze’s dad had developed a heart condition, and Heinze had to give up his career to take care of him. Even though his father’s condition remained steady, tragedy struck again when Heinze’s oldest brother passed away…
His True Identity?
It was a very hard time for Heinze with two of his closest family members deceased, and his father terminally ill. At the time, Heinze had already been married twice and was a father of five, so suffice it to say, he had a lot on his plate. He was a fisherman who enjoyed the outdoors, loved a good barbecue and he described himself as down-to-earth and “very easy going.” But in reality, he was far from those things.
Heinze had a profile on a popular website called Gumtree where he advertised himself as a trustworthy travel companion. “I am 198cm, six foot six inches athletic build – very fit, like most sports (including) fishing, swimming, snorkeling (and) diving. I like camping, barbecues, dining out… (I’m a) very easygoing guy, down to earth, friendly, respect other people and other cultures.” But Heinze left out of his profile what his true intentions were…
Heinze met a backpacker in September 2014 on the Gumtree website. They planned a trip to Hackham and were excited for their adventures until they experienced “car trouble.” As Heinze was sitting on a couch near the woman, he put his hand on her thigh.
The woman did not see this coming and knew the advance was unwelcome. She hadn’t done anything to lead Heinze to believe this was something she wanted, so she immediately got up to charge her phone…
Heinze was not about to take no for an answer. He followed her, approached her from behind, and put his arm around her, touching her breasts “over her clothes.” Heinze proceeded to steer her towards the bedroom by the shoulder and pushed her onto his bed.
She pushed Heinze away with her legs and feet and kicked him as hard as she could. She screamed a couple of times saying, “‘what are you doing, everyone knows I’m here.’” Heinze then apologized saying, “‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s happened.’”
She Wasn’t The Only One…
Heinze claimed he exited the room and left the woman alone, but the woman claims that the sexual assault continued unabated. After she spoke out to police, more reports came in of other backpackers having similar “nightmare” encounters with Heinze…
Heinze’s Hidden Life
Just three months later, in December 2014, another backpacker, this time a foreign one, was assaulted by Heinze. He wound up being charged over an assault at Goodwood. Despite committing two crimes previously, the Christies Beach Magistrates Court sentenced Heinz with a good behavior bond…
The court began to hear more shocking allegations, but they were eventually dropped. They did, however, carry out a bail condition banning Heinze from contacting women through the Gumtree website. Unfortunately, Heinze did not listen.
Instead, driven by his sexual motives, he contacted a total of 15 women from around the world. Heinz tricked several of those women into thinking he was safe to travel with. Given his misleading online profile, this wasn’t a surprise…
In November 2015, Heinze still hadn’t had enough and he traveled with a Japanese backpacker to Salt Creek. Heinz agreed to take the woman to Melbourne, although they never made it there. The woman sensed something was off with Heinz, so she posted photos of him and his vehicle online.
Yet Another Victim
Although Heinz grew worried that more people were finding out about him, he was still relentless in his pursuits. In February 2016, Heinze met a Brazilian backpacker looking for a ride to Melbourne. The woman received offers from two people, including Heinze and wound up accepting the other person’s offer. That was, until, her ride fell through…
She contacted Heinze again and accepted his offer, but asked if he would take a German backpacker along as well. Heinze agreed and the trio travel to Salt Creek, where Heinze sexually assaulted the Brazilian and attacked the German with a hammer and then his car! They both went to the hospital and Heinz was arrested.
Heinze appeared in court, but the media was banned from publishing even pixelated images of him, his possessions or his victims. Then, police told the court that “highly relevant material” had been found among Heinze’s possessions…
The court learned that Heinze had been charged for other incidents, unrelated to the Salt Creek attacks, and the details of the attacks were suppressed. Heinze pled not guilty, and the case was ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court.
It Was A Nightmare
During the case, the Brazilian backpacker gave evidence, comparing the incident with Heinze to “a horror movie.” She said she only escaped by focusing on survival and tricking him. The German then gave evidence, saying she saw herself “already buried” when the hammer struck her on the head. The court couldn’t believe what they were hearing…
Heinze was convicted of kidnap and assault but found not guilty of attempted murder. He is serving a minimum 17-year non-parole sentence for his crimes, which include aggravated kidnapping, sexual and physical assault and endangering life.
After Heinze was convicted, his elderly father broke his silence saying that he was not coping with the attention over his son. “I’m 87-years-old and this is the worst day of my life.”