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04 August 2011

Sydney bomb hoax teen keen to move forward - 4th August 2011

The father of the teenage victim of last night's bomb hoax in Sydney's north shore suburb, Mosman, advises his family is eager for their lives to return to normal.

Madeleine Pulver, 18, spent 10 hours chained to a complex fake bomb in her Mosman home on Sydney's north shore.

The Year 12 student told police she was ambushed by a masked intruder about 2.30pm yesterday.

She was finally released about midnight after an operation which included explosives experts from the Australian Federal Police and the British military.

The NSW Robbery and Serious Crime Squad has set up a strike force to investigate the terrifying incident and are treating it as extortion.

In this afternoons press conference, Bill Pulver thanked police and their friends for their support.

"I can tell you that we, as parents, are extraordinarily proud of Maddie," Mr Pulver said.

"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 10 hours.

"But she is now, as we are, eager for her to get on with her life.

"So again, I sincerely ask you to respect our privacy going forward."

An emotionally drained Mr Pulver said he and his wife wanted to thank everyone who helped their daughter last night.

The first two hours of the delicate operation were left to a junior female officer who was left alone with Madeleine to make sure she did not move.

The policewoman had no specialist training or protective gear.

"You are a wonderful group of people and we will be forever grateful," Mr Pulver said.

"Maddie particularly wanted to thank those few officers... they were an incredible comfort during an horrific ordeal.

"She also wanted to thank an extraordinary group of friends, family, neighbours...

"Clearly there is an ongoing investigation and we would call for full support [with] the NSW police department."

Detective Superintendent Luke Moore says police are facing a complex and extensive investigation.

"It's very early stages in the investigation. I can tell you that we are still conducting extensive forensic examinations at the family home," he said.

"We have some initial lines of inquiry that we are following up and we will continue to do so."

Det Supt Moore confirmed there was a letter of demand attached to the device that was believed to be a bomb.

"It was an elaborate device certainly made to look as though it was potentially explosive," he said.

"We are treating this as an attempted extortion."

Det Supt Moore said police did not have a full description of the offender, but there was "no doubt" police were looking for a suspect.

He said police were hopeful of speaking with Madeleine in the next day or so.

The 18-year-old's private school, Wenona, has postponed its HSC trial exams and is offering counselling to students and staff.

School principal Dr Briony Scott has advised students not to speak to the news media, including paps, and to stay clear of social networking sites.

"Our staff will be able to provide additional support to Year 12 and extra counsellors will be at the school today," she said in a statement on the school's website.

"As police continue their investigations, we ask that the school community respects the integrity of their inquiries as well as the privacy of the family by not indulging in public commentary through the media or social networking sites," she said.

Websites

NSW Police
http://www.police.nsw.gov.au

Australian Federal Police
http://www.afp.gov.au