Man jailed for putting 'collar bomb' around teenager's neck in Australia

Tuesday 20 November 2012 17.44
Paul Douglas Peters was tracked down in Kentucky about two weeks after the incident
Paul Douglas Peters was tracked down in Kentucky about two weeks after the incident

A man who strapped a fake collar bomb around the neck of a Sydney schoolgirl and then fled to the United States has been jailed for 13-and-a-half years.

The sentence was handed down after an Australian court ruled Paul Douglas Peter had instilled unimaginable fear into his victim.

The case sparked an international manhunt and led to a tense ten hours for teenager Madeleine Pulver after the man broke into her family's luxury home last August and strapped what he said was a bomb around her neck, leaving a note demanding money.

The collar bomb turned out to be fake.

Police in the US arrested Peters, 52, in Kentucky about two weeks after the incident after he was tracked down through email accounts.

Defence lawyers said Peters had suffered depression in the months before the attack and had no memory of his actions.

However, prosecutors said he had planned to target a neighbour of the Pulver family, but broke into the wrong house.

"He would have appreciated the enormity of what he was doing and the terrible effect and consequences of his actions on the victim," sentencing District Court Judge Peter Zahra said. "The fear instilled can only be described as unimaginable."

He sentenced Peters, who pleaded guilty to aggravated break and enter, to 13 years and six months in prison, with a minimum ten years to be served before he can apply for parole.

Outside the court, Ms Pulver said she was pleased Peters would not be able to reoffend, and that the court acknowledged the impact of his crime on her family.

"It was good to hear the judge acknowledge the trauma (Peters) has put my family and me through," she said.