Relief at fake collar-bomber's guilty plea

By Vincent Morello

The family of fake collar-bomb victim Madeleine Pulver says they are relieved they've been given some closure after the man responsible pleaded guilty in a Sydney court.

Paul Douglas Peters appeared briefly in Sydney's Central Local Court yesterday via video link and pleaded guilty to aggravated breaking and entering and committing a serious indictable offence.

Peters, 51, did not express emotion when his lawyer entered the plea on his behalf. Outside court, his lawyer Kathy Crittenden told reporters Peters was "profoundly sorry" to the Pulver family.

Madeleine's father Bill spoke to journalists outside court to offer thanks for the support the family had received.

"Today's guilty plea brings closure to a crime that remains a mystery and [as] random to us in our minds as it did back on August the third," he said.

"A poor decision by one man has prompted a truly extraordinary and inspiring response from many thousands of people and we will be forever grateful."

Court documents show Peters entered the Pulver family home about 2.15pm on August 3 through the unlocked front door carrying a black aluminium baseball bat and a small backpack.

He cornered Madeleine in her bedroom and said "I am not going to hurt you".

Peters took a black box from the backpack and pushed it against her throat, securing it around her neck with a bicycle lock that was attached to the device. An email address on the box read: "dirkstraun1840@gmail.com".

A purple lanyard which had a USB stick and a plastic document sleeve attached to it was also placed around her neck.

Peters told Madeleine to count to 200 before he left her bedroom and told her he would be right back.

After a few minutes, she yelled out and heard no response.

She sent text messages to her mother and father, asking them to call the police and then removed the document from the sleeves.

The letter said the case was boobie-trapped and could only be opened safely if they complied with his terms and conditions and tampering with the device would result in an explosion.

About 6pm, Pulver sent an email in the presence of police from his mobile to the Dirk Straun address.

"Hi, my name is Bill. I am the father of the girl you strapped the device to. What do you want me to do next? Bill", it read.

Peters accessed the email account three times from a library at Kincumber and a video store in Avoca, on the NSW Central Coast.

However, he did not access it after 5.51pm and did not respond to Pulver's message.

By 11pm, specialist bomb squad officers confirmed there were no explosives in the device, which was removed from Madeleine's neck around midnight.

"During that period of time, the victim was crying and scared for her life," the court documents state.

It was later revealed Peters had left the country on a flight to Los Angeles. Peters has been in custody in Australia since September 24. He will appear next in court on March 16.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 22 Dec 2014 17:36:49 Processing Time: 435ms