When Madeleine Pulver was in Year 12, a balaclava clad man broke into her Sydney home one afternoon and held her hostage, strapping a collar bomb to her neck.
Along with the device, he strapped a USB and a ransom note to her before he disappeared from the scene.
After a 10 hour ordeal which included the bomb disposal unit, counter terrorism command, and police negotiators, it was determined the bomb was fake.
The man responsible, Paul Douglas Peters, is eligible for parole on August 14, 2021.
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On August 3, 2011, 17-year-old Madeleine was forced to call her parents Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver and his wife Belinda, from their $15 million Mosman home, to tell them she was being held hostage.
She was studying for the HSC at the time, when Peters broke in wearing a balaclava and carrying a baseball bat.
He locked a device around her neck, along with a USB thumb drive on a lanyard and a plastic sleeve that held a two-page document outlining extortion demands and instructions.
It took 10 terrifying hours for the bomb squad to determine the device fake and release her from its clutches.
Two weeks later, police arrested investment banker Paul Douglas Peters in Kentucky, in the United States, where he’d fled to a few days after the incident. Police found him because of an email address he’d used on the ransom note.
He was hiding out in his ex-wife’s home and had absolutely no connection to the Pulver family. He plead guilty to the charges against him – aggravated break and enter and detaining for advantage, telling the court he had “difficulty coming to terms with what he did”.
His psychiatrist told the court Peters remembered walking up the steps of the Pulver property at 2pm on that 2011 afternoon, but his next memory jumped to 2 1/2 hours later at his home. It was revealed the then 52-year-old was likely suffering from bipolar disorder.