A teenager who had a fake bomb strapped to her neck for 10 hours in a failed ransom bid is now working as an interior designer.
Madeleine Pulver was just 17 when a balaclava-clad intruder broke in to her parents’ $15million Mosman home in August 2011 as she was studying for the HSC.
He put the fake collar bomb around her neck with a letter demanding cash from her parents, Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver and his wife Belinda.
Madeleine Pulver (right) is now an interior designer in Sydney’s upmarket Double Bay eight years after she had a fake bomb strapped to her neck for 10 hours in a failed ransom bid
Madeleine Pulver was held hostage in her parents’ $15 million Mosman home in August 2011 (pictured at the waterfront home later that year)
Police bomb squad eventually found it was fake and Maddie was freed. Disgruntled investment banker Paul Douglas Peters was later jailed for 13 years.
Eight years later, Ms Pulver, 26, living her dream as an interior designer for Studio Aria in Sydney’s upmarket Double Bay, across the harbour from the house.
‘I’m doing really well, I’m working as an interior designer and I’m loving it,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday.
‘I had a career shift last year and I’m doing what I’m really passionate about now.’
Ms Pulver admitted the harrowing ordeal still haunted her thoughts sometimes but she ‘tries not to think about it’, not even telling many of those close to her.
‘[What happened to me] hasn’t hurt my career at all, or at least I hope not,’ she said.
Ms Pulver (pictured right in 2014) graduated from Wenona School just months after the incident and went to schoolies on the Gold Coast with her friends
Ms Pulver pictured in 2017 (left) and at the time of her harrowing ordeal in 2011 (right). She said the incident still sometimes haunts her thoughts
Ms Pulver graduated from Wenona School just months after the incident and went to schoolies on the Gold Coast with her friends.
She took some time off to travel and work part time before studying communications at UTS, including a semester abroad in Denmark in 2015.
After two years as an account executive she made a career change with a diploma in interior design from the Billy Blue College of Design.
While there she was nominated for the Design Institute of Australia’s 2019 Graduate of the Year Awards.
During her studies she got practical experience working for the Curious Grace furniture chain and got her current job this July.
Ms Pulver rarely speaks about her experience and when she was given a Group Bravery Citation in 2017 she pushed the spotlight on to the police officers who helped her.
Constable Karen Lowden, who was by her side in the first three hours of the ordeal, was awarded a Star of Courage.
Her family was back in the news that same year when her father Bill’s $200,000 BMW convertible was stolen from a car wash and used in a stabbing rampage.
Ms Pulver with her brothers Herman, Archie, and Harry on a family trip in 2014
Ms Pulver (pictured in 2014) rarely speaks about her experience and when she was given a Group Bravery Citation in 2017 she pushed the spotlight on to the police officers who helped her
The intruder broke into Ms Pulvers’ parents’ $15 million Mosman home as she was home alone studying
NSW Police on Wednesday released details of the traumatising ordeal, including how Maddie was forced to call her parents to tell them she was being held hostage.
‘Madeleine Pulver, 17, contacted her parents by mobile phone asking them to contact police and send them to their home address urgently,’ a dispatch note written by an officer at the time read.
‘Police from the Harbourside LAC responded and located the victim in her bedroom with what she described as a bomb locked around her neck.’
The Harbourside Local Area Command officers described the teen as ‘distraught’ at the time. She was convinced she was going to die.
Maddie was able to tell officers that a man wearing a balaclava and carrying a baseball bat entered her home and told her she wouldn’t be hurt as long as her parents followed instructions.
Disgruntled investment banker Paul Douglas Peters (pictured) was arrested two weeks later hiding out in America and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the crime
A newly released X-Ray taken of the bomb at the time shows how intricate the device was. Police were initially not certain about its authenticity
‘He then locked a device around her neck so it could not be removed. He also put a USB thumb drive attached to a lanyard around her neck.
‘A plastic sleeve was attached to the lanyard which held a two page document outlining extortion demands and instructions,’ police documents read.
‘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,’ Peters wrote.
The ‘Brian Douglas Wells’ event he referenced occurred in the US in 2003, when a man was killed after he detonated a collar bomb.
NSW Police released a photo of the touch pad device (pictured) which was strapped to Maddie
The hoax bomb (pictured) was attached to the teen’s neck for more than 10 hours as police worked to determine whether it was fake
A never before seen X-Ray image taken while the bomb was still attached to Maddie’s neck displays the complex situation officers were faced with.
The device featured a coded touch pad and sophisticated technology which initially baffled the team, who were working in a high pressure situation, fearing the intruder was watching from afar.
Peters was eventually arrested two weeks later in his ex-wife’s home in Louisville, Kentucky.
He told a psychiatrist during court proceedings that he had no memory of the crime but suggested he had taken on the persona of a character in a book he was writing.
The court heard Peters started to morph himself into his protagonist John Chan, and he was looking for ‘dual revenge for Chan and for me,’ but a defence the judge said he was ‘not prepared to accept’.
Maddie was able to tell officers that a man wearing a balaclava and carrying a baseball bat entered her home and told her she wouldn’t be hurt as long as her parents followed instructions
Peters was sentenced to 13 years and six months in jail – with a minimum of 10 years to be served.
During sentencing, Judge Peter Zahra said: ‘The offender placed the victim in fear that she was going to die in order to extort money from her family.
‘The victim was vulnerable, being entitled to the sanctuary of her own home… the terror she experienced can only be described as unimaginable.’
Speaking outside the court after sentencing, Madeleine said she was pleased with the result and hoped that she and her family could now look to a future ‘where Paul Peters’ name is not linked with mine.’
Her father said: ‘She’s a very, very special young lady who has handled herself with incredible poise and dignity throughout this trial.’
Madeleine Pulver was studying for the HSC in the bedroom of her $AU15million Mosman home in August 2011 when a balaclava-clad intruder broke in