Australian banker Paul Peters jailed for minimum of 10 years for bizarre 'collar bomb' attack on Madeleine Pulver

 

Sydney

The crime - strapping what proved to be a fake collar bomb to a terrified Sydney schoolgirl – was bizarre in the extreme, and so was the “explanation”.

Paul Peters, a former investment banker, claimed he was suffering psychiatric problems and had confused himself with a character in a novel he was writing.

The judge, Peter Zahra, was unimpressed, and said Peters must have known he was inflicting unimaginable terror” on 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver, who was studying at home alone when he broke into her house in August last year. Peters, whose lawyers had argued he was in the grip of a mental breakdown precipitated by the failures of his marriage and career, was jailed for a minimum of 10 years.

Ms Pulver, whose family lives in Mosman, one of Sydney’s wealthiest harbourside suburbs, had to wait 10 agonising hours before police established the device was a fake. Peters, who was wearing a multi-coloured balaclava and wielding a baseball bat when he broke in, left a note claiming it contained powerful plastic explosives and demanding an unspecified sum of money.

The entire operation was bungled, the court heard, with the 52-year-old originally intending to try to extort money from the beneficiary of a multi-million-dollar trust fund. Arriving in Mosman, he bumped into the Pulvers’ next-door neighbour, a businessman whom he had met in Hong Kong. That person became his new target - but on the day of the attack Peters broke into the wrong house.

One psychiatrist told the court that Peters appeared to be acting out the role of the chief protagonist - an “avenging villain” – in his own  novel, set in Hong Kong. But Mr Zahra, sitting in the Sydney District  Court, said he was “not prepared” to accept that version of events, noting: “He would have appreciated the enormity of what he was doing and the impact on the victim.”

The prosecution called it an act of “urban terrorism” fuelled by financial greed. The Crown Prosecutor, Margaret Cunneen, SC, said that Peters – who fled to the US immediately afterwards – was angry at losing his wealth and status, and had decided to “get it all back in one go”.

Outside court, Ms Pulver, now 19, expressed relief at knowing “he will not reoffend”. And in a eference to the headlines which the case generated around the world, she said: “I can now look forward to a future without Paul Peters’ name being linked to mine.”

Peters, who was based mainly in the US at the time, was tracked to his ex-wife’s home in Kentucky a month later with the help of the FBI, and extradited to Australia. In March this year, he pleaded guilty to aggravated breaking and entering and detaining Ms Pulver for advantage.

Defence lawyers said he was suffering from bipolar disorder and major depression after his marriage broke down and he lost custody of his three children. He was also drinking heavily. Wandering through Mosman, he sought to “relive scenes in [his] book”, and came to believe he was his own character John Chan.

When he attached the collar bomb to Ms Pulver, it was to exact “dual revenge: one for John and one for me”, he told doctors. After the petrified teenager alerted police, bomb squad experts worked into the night to remove the device – only then discovering that it was a hoax.

The judge noted that Peters’ expressions of remorse had been “qualified and guarded”. Ms Pulver said she and her family were still  dealing with the trauma of the incident, “but we’re all making good  progress”.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

Maths Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering