A social influencer who was given a $1000 fine by police for escaping hotel quarantine in Sydney has promised to fight the fee, claiming all she wanted was some fresh air.
Podcaster Sarah Liberty, 39, landed in Sydney from Paris last week and was immediately taken to government-mandated hotel quarantine, where she would stay for the next 14 days.
But Liberty said by the third night, the lack of a balcony and fresh air had triggered her anxiety, and she escaped.
Speaking to Ten News last night, Liberty addressed her decision but said "people calling me selfish, I think that's really unfair because they don't understand my character".
"I'm someone who's very respectful of other people's safety," she added.
Liberty said she'd be fighting the $1000 fine and allegations she had damaged her room and sprinkler system at the Marriott Hotel in Sydney.
The 39-year-old is also taking legal action against NSW Police, accusing officers of damaging her things.
Liberty hosts a podcast called Feminist Friday and has more than 11,400 followers on Instagram.
A security contractor told NSW Police last week that he confronted Liberty as she approached a fire exit at the Marriott Hotel on Pitt St on Saturday night.
"Following a short struggle, she ran through the exit and was chased on foot before disappearing from sight," police said in a statement yesterday.
"The guard returned to the hotel and reported the incident to his supervisor, who alerted police inside the hotel."
Police searched for Liberty, who was found about 45 minutes later down at Circular Quay.
The woman, from Potts Pt in Sydney's east, was taken to hospital to be assessed before she was transferred back to a hotel managed by NSW Health.
She was issued a $1000 Penalty Infringement Notice for allegedly being in contravention of the state's Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order.
Liberty describes herself online as a social entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and human rights academic advocate for intersectional feminism.
View this post on Instagram
'Your judgements about another person say more about your own character than the person you are pointing a finger at' - Alaric Hutchinson. . For anyone who would like to contact me for my statement regarding Saturday night's alleged incident, which was extremely inaccurately reported - without me being contacted for a comment by any of the news outlets who ran the story - please feel free to email me via my website. If you also have concerns about my lips, my tattoos, the clothing I wear or actually are genuinely interested in my mental health, you are welcome to also contact me directly this way. But if you intend to troll or abuse me from behind your screen, then please spare yourself and me the time, and dignity.
She told her followers on Friday that she was anxious when she realised she was "going to be locked in a hotel room for the next two weeks".
"And I'll confess, it brought me to tears," she wrote on Instagram.
"I am strong, but after facing months of confinement in Paris, I just want to run to the ocean, eat Sydney Thai (nothing beats it), and a huge plate of oysters. Instead, I'm in hotel room with instant coffee, weatbix and not much else.
"Having said that, I understand why confinement is necessary and am so happy to be home. So wish me Bon Courage for the next two weeks, and watch out for me when I'm released! I'm a woman on a mission."
Liberty's alleged breach of hotel quarantine is the first case of its kind in NSW.
A Perth man was the first Australian jailed for sneaking out of quarantine earlier this year.
As of Monday, police were managing 19 hotels across Sydney with 5671 people in mandatory quarantine. The state's health department has an additional 597 people in six hotels.
Since March 29, there have been 33,956 people in mandatory hotel quarantine across the state.