A Sydney schoolgirl who spent 10 hours with what she thought was a bomb chained around her neck said Wednesday she was “very relieved” a man had been arrested over the bizarre incident.
Madeleine Pulver, 18, became a global news story two weeks ago when a masked man entered her luxury Sydney harbourside home, strapped a suspected collar bomb around her neck and left her, telling her to count to 200.
She said Wednesday she was “glad it is all over” after Australian police and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a businessman in Kentucky in connection with the case.
“It’s all very surreal,” Madeleine told reporters who have been camped outside her door since the August 3 incident, adding she was “very relieved”.
Australian citizen Paul “Doug” Peters, 50, was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on Monday and appeared in a United States court on Tuesday.
Police, who will apply to have him extradited to Australia, will allege that he broke into Pulver’s home and fastened the fake bomb around her throat with a bicycle chain.
Explosives experts worked for 10 hours to remove the black box, which had a USB storage device and a purple lanyard attached, and which was later found to have been an elaborate hoax.
Authorities are still working to pinpoint a motive for the alleged crime, with the Pulver family saying Tuesday they were mystified as to how they became embroiled in the dramatic saga which gripped the nation.
“This has been a baffling and frightening experience,” said Madeleine’s father Bill Pulver, a businessman.
He said his daughter, who is studying for her final school exams, was “a bright, happy young woman who, for reasons we still don’t understand, has had her life turned upside down going through this dreadful experience”.
Australian newspapers have given the story extensive coverage, reporting that Peters is a father of three children who has previously worked in Malaysia, and who grew up in Hong Kong where his father worked as a pilot.
Peters, who attended The Scots College in Sydney’s exclusive Bellevue Hill, was arrested at his ex-wife’s home in La Grange, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Louisville, Kentucky.