Two women who were allegedly hunted down and kidnapped by family members after they decided to leave home say they would fear for their lives if bail was granted.
The pair, who cannot be named to protect their safety, were allegedly tied up by male and female relatives who travelled to Melbourne before forcing them into a car and driving back to Sydney.
Knives, rope and “verbal denigration” were allegedly used to bring them back home, the court was told.
One of the women, who had converted to Christianity from Islam, used Snapchat to tell her boyfriend what allegedly took place.
A 48-year-old woman, a 51-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and a 33-year-old man faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with kidnapping and assault.
Magistrate Carolyn Burnside said there is an “absence of compelling reasons to justify bail” for the foursome.
Additionally, the women said they are “extremely fearful of the family killing them” if bail was granted.
All four of the accused, which included a mother, brother and brother in-law, were refused bail and were remanded in custody.
Ms Burnside said the group, who are originally from Iraq, would be a flight risk if released.
The saga allegedly began when the two women decided to “escape their families“ and moved out from their relatives’ Sydney house in March 2021.
They booked a hotel room in Melbourne for a month before being “convinced to move back to their families”.
In March 2022, the pair again left and stayed at Airbnbs and motels in Wollongong and Melbourne, before moving to Heidelberg Heights in the city’s northeast by July.
At an unknown time during this period, one of the girls changed her religion and converted to Christianity.
Meanwhile, police allege members of the family had discovered the women’s location and travelled to Melbourne on August 27 to take them back to Sydney.
“(The relatives had) the intention of forcefully returning them to Sydney because it was bringing shame and dishonour to the community,” police alleged in court.
Three days later, relatives arrived at the women’s house and waited inside until they returned from work.
Once the pair got home, they were allegedly confronted by the foursome.
As one of the women walked into her bedroom, one of the men allegedly held a knife to her neck and used heavy force, the court heard.
“You b***h, you think you can run away from home, you’re a slut, don’t move, don’t scream,” one of the relatives allegedly said.
He then put a piece of duct tape over her mouth.
Soon after, one of the accused became “enraged” after seeing that a photo of her boyfriend was her phone’s background.
He then allegedly walked over to the woman and “used forced” to rip a cross necklace from her neck.
The women were then driven back to Sydney, according to a summary of events, while being restrained by rope and duct tape.
Their phones were allegedly turned off and taken away, which “worried” one of the women’s boyfriends.
However, she soon managed to get it back into her possession and used Snapchat to communicate with him, sending messages about what had taken place.
The court heard she also said she feared she would be killed, according to the messages.
This prompted the women to be removed from the Sydney home by NSW Police earlier this month.
All four of the accused will return to court on December 19.
None of the group have any prior criminal convictions.