A small town in Australia with just around 300 inhabitants and no police force has been branded "completely lawless" with violent crimes happening daily.

Fregon, in the country's Outback, was thrust into the spotlight when a nurse was brutally raped and murdered in 2016.

The body of Gayle Woodford, 56, was found in a shallow grave three days after she disappeared.

A coroner has now submitted a damning report criticising the town following an inquest into the mum-of-two's death.

Ms Woodford was killed by Dudley Davey, who pleaded guilty to her murder in 2017.

South Australia Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel painted a shocking picture of Fregon with his findings, which were released on Thursday.

Gayle Woodford
The murder of Gayle Woodford in 2016 shocked Australia

He recommended that a local police presence be established to deal with the "lawlessness of the town".

"The evidence of those witnesses who were called and who expressed a view about police presence in the Fregon community having regard to the level of lawlessness within it, would suggest that a permanent police presence would be essential," Mr Schapel's reports said.

"The proposition that a community in which certain of its members need to be protected by cages does not require an immediate police presence within that community would, I think, strike the ordinary man or woman in the street as perverse."

Mr Schapel added that it was hard to determine whether a police presence in the town would have prevented Ms Woodford's death.

Dudley Davey
Dudley Davey is serving a sentence of at least 32 years for his crimes

But he said it would act as deterrent for other crimes.

Ms Woodford's death shocked Australia, after it emerged she was lured into a trap, abducted, raped and murdered.

It also led to a number of questions being asked about Fregon, an Aboriginal community located in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

According to reports, police have a presence in other locations in the APY Lands - but often take around an hour and a half to reach Fregon.

Fregon
Fregon is situated around 800 miles north of Adelaide

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The town, situated around 800 miles north of Adelaide, is home to anywhere between 150 and 300 people at a time.

Ms Woodford covered the APY Lands as part of her patch for nearly five years before she was brutally killed, attending many callouts.

Davey is currently serving a sentence of at least 32 years for his crimes, which also included the theft of Ms Woodford's ambulance.

A court heard during his trial how he had assaulted another nurse in Fregon back in 1998.

Fregon
Fregon is home to anywhere between 150 and 300 people at a time

The coroner's report adds: "The violence in Fregon was described by a medical practitioner of several years’ standing in remote communities such as these as 'ongoing' and 'continual', and that if there was no violence in the Fregon community on a given day it was a 'good day', circumstances not helped in her opinion by the lack of a police presence in the community.

"The practitioner described Fregon as 'completely lawless' and the most violent place in which she had resided and worked while employed by the NHC in the APY Lands, to the point where she believed that serious consideration needed to be given to the withdrawal of services from this particular community so as to bring it to its closure.

Woodford ambulance
Davey stole Ms Woodford's community ambulance

"Mrs Woodford's murder is in keeping with the general lawlessness within the Fregon community and the fact that this atmosphere of dysfunction and ­violence largely remained unchecked."

Gayle's Law was introduced following Ms Woodford's death, to provide better protection for health practitioners working in remote areas of South Australia.

Under the law, health practitioners in remote areas of South Australia must be accompanied by a second responder when attending an out of hours or unscheduled callout.