Madeleine's parents speak to reporters yesterday after their daughter's ordeal AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

Bomb chained around Sydney teenager's neck 'was an elaborate hoax'

Police said they believe the fake ‘collar bomb’ was part of an extortion attempt on the family of Madeleine Pulver, 18.

THE ‘COLLAR BOMB’ chained to a teenage girl’s neck in Sydney yesterday was an elaborate hoax, police have said.

Detectives believe a masked man broke into the home of a wealthy Sydney family, chained a fake bomb to Madeleine Pulver’s neck and left a note of demands behind as part of an extortion attempt that seemed straight out of a Hollywood thriller.

Madeleine Pulver was freed from the device late Wednesday after bomb squad specialists spent ten harrowing hours trying to safely remove it from her neck. The 18-year-old was not hurt and police later determined the device contained no explosives.

A note of demands had been attached to the device, New South Wales state Police Detective Superintendent Luke Moore said. “We are treating this as an attempted extortion — a very serious attempted extortion,” Moore added.

The drama began on Wednesday afternoon in the upscale Sydney suburb of Mosman when Pulver’s family contacted police saying their daughter had been attacked and there was a strange device attached to her. Bomb technicians, negotiators and detectives rushed to the scene. Nearby homes were evacuated, streets were closed and medical and fire crews waited nearby.

Pulver told police a man wearing a mask broke into her home and confronted her while she was in the kitchen. The teen said the man forced her to stay still while he fitted the device to her neck, and then fled. When officials arrived on the scene, they found Pulver alone in the house with the suspicious device tethered to her neck by a chain.

The family lives in one of Sydney’s ritziest areas and the girl’s father, William Pulver, is a successful businessman who serves as the CEO of an information technology company. On Thursday, he fought back tears as he talked about his daughter’s horrifying ordeal.

“We as parents are extraordinarily proud of Maddy,” William Pulver said, his equally tearful wife Belinda at his side. “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 ten hours.”

- AP

Read more: Sydney teenager successfully freed from ‘bomb collar’ >

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