Collar bomb suspect back in Sydney

2011-09-24 17:00

Sydney - An investment banker who allegedly attached a fake bomb around an Australian schoolgirl's neck was on Saturday charged with extortion and kidnapping after his dramatic arrest and extradition from the US.

Paul Douglas Peters, 50, who was held by an FBI Swat team in Kentucky, arrived in Sydney under guard on a Qantas flight from Los Angeles on Saturday and was taken to police headquarters for charging.

He did not appear at the Parramatta Bail Court after the magistrate deemed it unnecessary and his lawyer did not apply for bail. He will remain in custody until his next hearing on November 17.

Peters has been charged with aggravated breaking and entering, demanding money with menaces and kidnapping over the August 3 incident in which a fake bomb was allegedly fitted to the neck of 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver.

Horrifying 10-hour ordeal

Pulver endured a horrifying 10-hour ordeal after a masked man allegedly entered her luxury home in Sydney's leafy Mosman suburb and attached the collar bomb device to her.

The black box had a USB storage device and a purple lanyard attached as well as a note saying it contained explosives, and experts worked into the night to remove it, only later establishing that it was an elaborate hoax.

"I have great admiration for Madeleine Pulver and her family for the way they have dealt with this matter and what has been obviously a very traumatic time of their lives," detective superintendent Luke Moore said on Saturday.

Moore also thanked authorities in the United States for their efforts in finding and arresting Peters.

"The job is far from done and the courts will now make their determination," Moore told reporters in Sydney. "I am very pleased that we have been able to bring this matter to where we are today relatively swiftly."

Dressed in chinos, business shirt and navy blazer, Peters boarded the Qantas flight late on Thursday after not contesting his extradition from the US.

Deny charges

He had been held at Kentucky's Oldham County Jail since he was arrested at the home of his ex-wife near Louisville.

Although he did not fight the extradition, his lawyers have reportedly said he will deny all the charges.

New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters: "The fact that we've been able to bring this person of interest home has been a most important stage, I would think, in the process.

"But as this particular person of interest appears in court, we need to simply let courts get on with the job. We don't need to be speculating."

The Pulvers, who have said they are mystified as to why they became embroiled in the dramatic saga which gripped the nation and made headlines around the world, praised police for their work on the bizarre crime.

"We are just sitting back and watching things just like everybody else," father Bill Pulver told reporters.

"There's not a lot we can add to it at this point."

Bill Pulver said his daughter was now concentrating on studying for her final school exams.

"Maddie is a very strong young woman who I think is doing just a stellar job in the circumstances," he added.