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Friday, August 5, 2011

'We are so proud of our Maddy': Father speaks of daughter's terrifying ordeal as it's revealed intruder left note saying 'I'll detonate collar bomb if

-Emotional parents thank police who stayed with daughter throughout nail-biting ten hours
-'She's in good spirits but tired and sore,' they said
-Police confirm it was a 'serious extortion attempt'
-Balaclava-clad intruder broke in and chained device to Madeleine's neck
-Victim 'had note pinned on saying she would be blown up if police called'
-Shaken parents waited outside house before reunion with daughter
-Family lives in mansion in exclusive suburb
-Bomb officers investigating other 'items' in house
-Father is one of Australia's wealthiest men, William Pulver, CEO of software company Appen Butler Hill
-Family recently moved back from U.S

By Daily Mail Reporter

Ordeal: Madeleine Pulver was said to be 'in good spirits' after her terrifying ten hours

The tearful father of the teenage girl chained to a 'bomb' for ten nail-biting hours spoke today of his pride in his daughter as police revealed that the device was a hoax.

Police said the 'collar bomb' strapped to Madeleine Pulver's neck contained no explosives but confirmed that there was a note making demands and said they were treating the case as attempted extortion.

Today Miss Pulver's father fought back tears as he spoke of his 18-year-old daughter's ordeal at the family home in an exclusive Sydney suburb.

With his wife Belinda beside him, he told a press conference: 'We as parents are extraordinarily proud of Maddy.

'I think she has woken up this morning in pretty good spirits. She's a little tired, a little sore, from holding this damned device in place for about 10 hours.'

He thanked police and friends who rallied around and said the family were hoping to move on with their lives.

Mr Pulver, believed to be one of the richest men in Australia, said of his daughter: 'She is now, as we are, eager for her to get on with her life. I sincerely ask you to respect our privacy going forward.'

The lead detective in the case has praised a female PC who stayed with a terrified Miss Pulver during the early stages of the ordeal, even though it was not known at the time that the device was not a bomb.

Detective Sergeant Luke Moore said: 'One of the first responding female police officers who attended and first spoke to Madeleine put herself in a potentially life-threatening situation.

'To stay and to comfort Madeleine in those early, traumatic stages, I can only praise that police officer's selflessness. It is a great example.'

Miss Pulver told police a man wearing a balaclava broke into the family home in Mosman, a wealthy Sydney suburb, yesterday afternoon.and confronted her while she was in the kitchen.

She said the man forced her to stay still while he fitted the device to her neck, and then fled.

When police arrived, they found her alone in the house with the device tethered to her by a chain.

It was reported the man had pinned a note to her chest warning the family not to contact police 'or I'll detonate'.

He had told allegedly told her there was a microphone to her so he could hear what she said and he could trigger the device remotely.

The 'bomb' appeared to be so elaborate that experts had no idea whether it would explode as they attempted to detach it during a tense ten-hour operation in which Miss Pulver's parents waited outside and nearby homes were evacuated.

Today Detective Superintendent Moore said he was now leading a 'very serious and complex investigation' and that a letter attached to a 'small briefcase' device made 'certain demands'.

He would not reveal the contents of the note, but said: 'We are treating this as an attempted extortion, a very serious attempted extortion.

'That letter gives us certain lines of inquiry we are trying to follow.'

New South Wales Police assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch said the operation was: 'A very, very elaborate hoax as it turned out.

'But it was made and certainly gave the appearance of a legitimate improvised explosive device.

'We had to treat it seriously until we could prove otherwise and that's exactly what we did and that's why it took so long.

After finally being reunited with her parents Madeleine Pulver was rushed to hospital where doctors could examine her

The intruder sneaked into the family's luxurious home and chained the device to the terrified schoolgirl's throat

The drama began when Miss Pulver's family contacted police saying their daughter had been attacked and there was a strange device attached to her.

Miss Pulver's father, William, is believed to be one of the wealthiest men in Australia. He is the former CEO of internet market research company Nielsen NetRatings, based in Manhattan.

The family recently moved back to Australia from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, when he became CEO of software company Appen Butler Hill, which specialises in linguistic solutions. Miss Pulver's mother, Belinda, 51, has a successful landscaping company.

The exclusive suburb of Mosman where the family live is home to multi-millionaires, sports stars, stockbrokers and bankers.

After the phone call, bomb technicians, negotiators and detectives rushed to the scene.

Nearby homes were evacuated, streets were closed and medical and fire crews waited nearby.

Emotional: Madeleine's parents Bill and Belinda Pulver spoke of their pride in their daughter after she was freed from the device

Cordoned off: Police stand outside the family's home in Mosman, Sydney, the day after the bomb ordeal


Police bomb disposal experts sought advice from British military authorities as they delicately worked to free Miss Pulver, who is said to have been ‘absolutely petrified’ during the ordeal.

Throughout the ordeal Mr Murdoch kept the outside world informed. After several hours he said that four police officers, including two bomb specialists, were with Miss Pulver but he could not estimate how long the drama would continue.

'We are continuing to work very very hard under difficult circumstances and we are working very hard to ensure the welfare of the family.

'This operation is serious, it is delicate and we will have to take as long as it takes to ensure this young lady's safety.'

Later he said: 'We are still treating the suspicious package as live. I can't confirm whether it is strapped to the woman involved but she is still in the vicinity of the device.'

Asked if she could move away from the device, Mr Murdoch said: 'No, she can't get away from it.'

Tight knit: Madeleine Pulver, seen with her father Bill was examined by police and bomb experts while her parents had to wait for her rescue outside

Tense: Police and bomb officers stood outside the mansion in, Mosman, Sydney where the 18-year-old girl had a bomb strapped to her collar

Nail-biting: Police officers, wearing protective equipment, had to spend hours trying to work out what the device was and how to free the terrified teenager

Holding their breath: While experts tried to free Madeleine, her parents waited outside and comforted each other

As the hours passed and tension rose, he admitted that device was proving to be 'a tough nut to crack', and said police had to 'hasten slowly' in a delicate situation like this.

Immediately after the device was removed, Mr Murdoch said bomb squad officers still did not know how dangerous it was.

He said that neither he nor the bomb squad officers had seen anything like it and he admitted it would be ‘some time’ before it could be dismantled, not only for safety reasons, but to look for clues as to who had put it together.

He said the teenager was ‘doing well’ after being freed and was reunited with her parents, who had been kept out of the house by police during the ordeal for their own safety.

Delicate: Police cordoned off the street as the terrified girl's parents were forced to wait outside

Emergency: Bomb officers spent ten hours trying to work out how they could diffuse the device

Miss Pulver was taken to a hospital for an examination.

‘She’s good – she’s been kept in a very uncomfortable position,’ Mr Murdoch said. ‘She has been and will be uncomfortable for a little while to come.’

Police were also reported to be scouring other 'items' inside the house while they moved Miss Pulver to the front part of the building.

There were some suggestions that the drama mirrored a scene from the horror movie Saw and an episode of the CSI crime show.

Madeleine Pulver underwent a terrifying ten-hour ordeal while explosives expert detached the device which had been chained to her neck by a masked intruder

Mr Murdoch said police had found ‘some items’ in the house that were being examined and he confirmed that among the detectives involved in the drama were men from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad who deal with extortion.

‘We are working hard to find out exactly what it is and equally importantly what it isn’t,’ said Mr Murdoch.

The young woman, he said, was ‘going pretty well’ and had specialist police with her.

Darkness: Temporary lights were used to conduct the operation while inside the multi-million pound property bomb officers tried to calm the girl

Battle: Police continued their efforts to free the teenager from the 'ransom' bomb as night fell on Burrawong Avenue in Mosman, Sydney

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was shocked when she heard about the case.

'When I looked at it this morning, the first thing I said was "it's like a Hollywood script - the kind of thing you would see at the cinema or on TV'," she told Fairfax Radio.

'You would never expect it to happen in real life in Australia.'

At that time the teenager's parents had not been able to speak to their daughter, said Mr Murdoch, but he did not say why. There was speculation at the time that a phone call might trigger an explosion.

The suburb of Mosman, where the famous Taronga Park Zoo is located, is on the northern shores of Sydney Harbour. Huge homes line the leafy streets and luxury yachts are moored in harbour inlets.

Miss Pulver is a student at the exclusive North Sydney private school Wenona.

The family had a share in an historic 946 hectare grazing property, which was sold two months ago for just under $3.7 million, and they own a Central Coast beachhouse.

Last year, Mr Pulver's hi-tech information technology business, Appen, joined forces with the Butler Hill Group.

At the time of the multi-million-dollar merger, Mr Pulver, chief executive of the new company, Appen Butler Hill, said the two companies could provide linguistic and voice-recognition services in more than 120 languages for clients including software companies and security organisations, as well as global government agencies.

Customers include Microsoft, IBM, Fujitsu, Toshiba and Telstra.

source: dailymail


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