Man pleads guilty over collar bomb hoax

2012-03-08 10:57

Sydney - An Australian man arrested in the United States and accused of clamping a fake bomb around the neck of a Sydney teenager pleaded guilty to the charges on Thursday, in a surprise conclusion to a case that has dominated Australian media.

The case sparked an international man-hunt and led to a tense 10 hours for teenager Madeleine Pulver after a man broke into her family's luxury Sydney home last August and strapped what he said was a bomb around her neck, leaving a note demanding money.

The collar bomb was later found to be fake.

Police in the United States arrested Paul Douglas Peters, aged 50, in a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky, about two weeks after the incident, after he was tracked down through e-mail accounts.

At a court hearing in Sydney, lawyers for Peters said he pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated break and enter, committing serious indictable offence, bringing relief to Pulver and her family.

Profoundly sorry

"We are incredibly pleased with today's outcome. It is great comfort knowing Maddie won't have to endure the stress and anxiety of reliving the events of that terrible night," Madeleine's father, Bill Pulver, told reporters.

"Today's guilty plea brings closure to a crime that remains a mystery and as random to us in our mind as it did back on August 3."

Peters appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court via a video link, and he made no comment. He remains in a Sydney jail and will return to court on March 16 for sentencing.

However, his lawyer, Kathy Crittenden, told reporters outside the court that Peters was "profoundly sorry".