|Paul "Doug" Peters pleaded guilty to attaching a fake bomb around the neck of Madeleine Pulver. (AP)|
An Australian investment banker who attached a fake bomb around the neck of a Sydney schoolgirl in a bid to extort money from her wealthy family was Tuesday jailed for at least 10 years.
Paul Peters, 52, who was arrested and extradited from the United States in September last year with the help of the FBI, pleaded guilty to aggravated breaking and entering, and detaining the teenager for advantage.
The father-of-three made global headlines when he broke into the multimillion-dollar Pulver family home wearing a mask and strapped a device to 18-year-old Madeleine‘s neck with a note claiming it was a bomb in August 2011.
A Sydney court heard he was suffering psychiatric problems after his marriage broke down and he lost custody of his children, with the judge saying he appeared to think he was an “avenging character” in a novel he was writing.
He told doctors he had wandered Sydney’s leafy harbor suburbs, seeking to “relive scenes in the book” -- set in Hong Kong -- and eventually came to believe he was one of the protagonists, John Chan.
He fixed the hoax collar bomb to Pulver as part of a plan to exact what he described as a “dual revenge; one for John and one for me.”
Police, bomb squad and other emergency services descended on the scene and Pulver endured a horrifying 10-hour ordeal with experts working into the night to remove the device, only later establishing it was an elaborate hoax.
Pulver was in court to watch Judge Peter Zahra jail Peters for a maximum 13-and-a-half years and said she was “pleased with today‘s outcome and that I can now look to a future without Paul Peters’ name linked to mine.”
“I realize it is going to take quite some time to come to terms with what happened, but today was important because now the legal process is over,” the teenager added to reporters outside court.
“For me it was never about the sentencing but to know that he will not reoffend, and it was good to hear the judge acknowledge the trauma that he has put my family and me through.”
Her father, Bill, said there was a “great sense of relief” for the family.
Zahra, who said Peters would be eligible for parole in 10 years, described his bizarre crime as “heinous” and a “deliberate act of extortion” which had terrified Pulver, now aged 19, who was home alone studying for exams.
“The offender entered a house armed and disguised. He found the young girl on her own and vulnerable,” Zahra said.
“At the time of placing the device he had prepared around the neck of the victim he would have appreciated the enormity of what he was doing and the terrible effect and consequence of his conduct upon the victim,” he added.
Zahra said Peters “would have been aware that after he left the victim she would have experienced considerable trauma before it was determined that the device did not contain explosives.”
“He would have understood, at the time, in the many hours that followed she was in fear she would be killed,” he added.
“The terror instilled can only be described as unimaginable.”
Zahra noted that Peters‘ expressions of remorse had been “qualified and guarded” and gave him “minimal” discount for his mental health problems, which included bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse and major depression.
Prosecutors had described the sensational case as an act of “urban terrorism” fuelled by financial greed. (AFP)
<관련 한글 기사>
18세女 목에 '차마못할 짓'한 엽기범인 체포!
시드니의 한 소녀를 납치해 가족으로부터 거액의 돈을 뜯어내기 위해 소녀의 목에 모조 폭탄을 부착한 호주의 한 증권업자가 화요일 최소 10년 형을 선고받았다.
폴 피터스(52)는 작년 9월 미국에서 FBI에 체포된 후 구속돼 무단침입과 납치 혐의로 유죄를 선고받았다.
세 아이의 아버지인 피터스는 작년 8월 백만장자인 펄버의 집에 마스크를 쓴 채 무단침입, 마델린 펄버(18) 양을 납치하고 목에 모조 폭탄을 부착한 후 가족을 위협했다.
시드니 법원에 따르면 피터스는 이혼을 당하고 아이들의 양육권을 빼앗긴 후 정신적 문제를 겪고 있었으며 이후 그가 집필해온 소설에 등장하는 ‘복수심에 불타는’ 캐릭터를 구상해온 것으로 알려졌다.
그는 소설에 등장하는 복수 시나리오에 따라 납치한 펄버 양의 목에 가짜 폭탄을 설치한 것으로 알려졌다.
경찰과 폭발물 처리반 등 긴급대응반이 출동해 장장 10시간 동안 계속된 납치극을 종결시키기 전까지 펄버 양은 공포에 딸며 시간을 보내야 했다.
수사를 맡았던 검찰 당국은 이 엽기적인 사건을 ‘도시 테러행위’로 규정하고 금전적 탐욕을 그 원인으로 꼽았다. (코리아헤럴드)