Mosman bomb hoax offender parole bid

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A man who terrorised a Sydney teenager by strapping a fake bomb around her neck has been recommended for parole.

Paul Douglas Peters, 60, has spent a decade in prison for the crime, but his non-parole period is ending on August 14.

On Friday, the NSW State Parole Authority said it had received expert advice that said Mr Peters was suitable for parole.

“In a report to the SPA, the Serious Offenders Review Council advised parole was appropriate, stating Peters has been assessed as a low risk of reoffending, has completed all available programs in custody and has suitable post-release plans,” the SPA said in a statement.

But Peters’s path to freedom hasn’t been fully cleared yet.

His parole will be subject to a public review hearing in August when the victim and her family will get the opportunity to have their say on the matter.

And even if he were to be granted parole, Peters would be made to follow strict conditions imposed by the SPA and be under Corrective Services supervision.

Peters shocked the nation with his brazen crime on August 3, 2011, entering the Mosman home of a family on Sydney’s north shore and strapping a fake bomb to the neck of their 17-year-old daughter.

The device came with a two-page extortion note warning the family there would be an explosion if they didn’t send him money.

“Powerful new technology plastic explosives are located inside the small black combination case delivered to you,” the note began.

Peters’s note went on to claim he was a “special forces green beret munitions specialist” with two decades of experience constructing bombs and any attempt to tamper with the device would lead to an explosion.

“SO, ACT NOW, THINK LATER, or YOU will inadvertently trigger a tragically avoidable explosion, known in the American armed forces, as a BRIAN DOUGLAS WELLS event,” the note went on.

The line was in reference to a highly publicised 2003 crime in the US state of Pennsylvania, where pizza delivery man Brian Douglas Wells was killed by a bomb that had been strapped around his neck by bank robbers.

The extortion note was hung around the victim’s neck in a lanyard that also had a USB thumb drive attached to it, according to NSW Police investigation material that was released under freedom of information laws in 2019.

It described how the 17-year-old had called her parents on her mobile phone around 2.30pm and asked them to urgently contact police.

“A short time later police from the Harbourside LAC responded and located the victim in her bedroom with what she described as a bomb locked around the neck,” the police report states.

“She told police that a short time before an older male wearing a balaclava and carrying a baseball bat approached her and told her that he was not going to hurt her. He then locked a device around her neck so that it could not be removed.”

Police put a major operation into action, calling in a bomb squad, negotiators, robbery and counter-terrorism detectives as well as paramedics and firefighters.

It took the bomb disposal unit nearly 10 hours to establish that the device was a fake, according to the police files.

The hoax bomb was removed from the victim’s neck around midnight and she was taken to hospital.

In the days following the ordeal, the police investigation zeroed in on Peters, and detectives came to believe he had fled the country for the US on August 8.

NSW Police asked the commonwealth Attorney-General’s department to issue an international arrest warrant for Peters, and he was caught by FBI agents in the state of Kentucky on August 15.

Peters was convicted later in 2011 of aggravated break and enter and committing a serious indictable offence.

The then 50-year-old was sentenced to a maximum 13 years and six months in jail, with a non-parole period of 10 years.

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