Asia-Pacific

Australia 'collar-bomb' accused Peters pleads guilty

A man has pleaded guilty to breaking into a teenage girl's home and locking her to a fake bomb in Australia in August last year.

Paul Douglas Peters, 50, appeared via video-link in a Sydney court and his lawyer entered the plea on his behalf.

He was arrested in the United States last year and extradited to Australia to face charges for the incident, believed to be an attempt to extort money from the girl's family.

He will be sentenced later this month.

The charges stem from an ordeal endured by 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver on 3 August 2011.

Peters entered her bedroom in a wealthy Sydney suburb as she studied, attaching a device he said was a bomb to her neck.

A police squad spent 10 hours removing the device, which was later found to contain no explosives.

Peters, a successful international businessman, was later arrested in the US at the home of his ex-wife in Louisville, Kentucky. He did not fight the extradition, though his US lawyer had previously said he rejected the charges against him.

Image caption Peters was arrested in the US state of Kentucky and extradited to Australia to face charges

He did not attend a brief hearing at Parramatta Bail Court in Sydney last year, where charges of kidnapping, aggravated breaking and entering, and demanding money with menaces were filed against him.

He had not applied for bail since he was brought back to Australia and will remain in custody until the sentencing.

Outside the court on Thursday, his lawyer Kathy Crittenden told reporters Peters was "profoundly sorry".

Ms Pulver's father Bill - a businessman who has made millions from internet software - said the plea was a relief for the family.

"We are incredibly pleased with today's outcome. It is great comfort knowing Maddie won't have to endure the stress and anxiety of reliving the events of that terrible night," he told Australian media.

The Pulvers previously said they were mystified as to why they were targeted. They said they had never met Peters, although reports suggest he may once have worked for a company with links to the family.

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