Sky News – 5 hours ago
A teenager who had what she thought was a bomb chained to her neck has thanked police who helped her through her 10-hour ordeal as a manhunt continues.
Madeleine Pulver's father, William, has given a short statement saying his daughter was in "good spirits" despite her ordeal after a masked intruder attached the device to her at her home in Sydney, Australia.
At a packed news conference, he showed signs of the huge emotional strain that the family had gone through and thanked all the departments and agencies involved in the release of his 18-year-old daughter.
Passing on a message from his daughter, he said: "Maddie particularly wanted to thank those four officers who spent many long hours sitting with her showing little regard for their own personal safety.
"Last night they were an incredible comfort during a horrific ordeal.
"She has woken up this morning in pretty good spirits. She is a little tired, a little sore from holding this damn device for about 10 hours."
The Pulvers are one of Sydney's wealthiest families and police said they are treating the plot - described as like something out of a Hollywood film - as an extortion attempt.
Madeleine told police a man wearing a balaclava broke in to the family's multimillion-dollar mansion in the wealthy suburb of Mosman and attached the "collar bomb", which was later discovered to be fake, to her about 2.30pm local time on Wednesday.
She was alone in the house and after the culprit left she phoned police herself to report that she thought there was an explosive device strapped to her body.
Surrounding properties were evacuated and roads were closed off in an operation involving the bomb squad, rescue squad, fire crews and paramedics.
Two police negotiators stayed with the teenager throughout the ordeal, keeping her calm while bomb disposal technicians worked on the device.
The first officer on the scene was young policewoman Karen Lowden, who sat with Miss Pulver, giving her emotional support, until back-up police arrived.
New South Wales (NSW) Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has commended the constable for her actions, adding that he was "incredibly proud" of her.
"Hers was a truly brave and selfless act," he said.
The device was eventually removed before midnight - almost 10 hours later - and Miss Pulver was reunited with her parents, who were waiting in anticipation outside.
Police later confirmed the suspicious device did not contain explosives after using X-ray technology and the help of British military bomb experts to identify what it was.
Detective Superintendent Luke Moore revealed a ransom-style note making demands was left inside the house, but he would not detail what it said.
He added: "Madeleine is a victim - we are treating this an an attempted extortion."
On the note, Mark Murdoch, assistant commissioner of NSW state police, said: "Certainly the instructions were precise, they were such that led us to believe that we were dealing with a very serious and legitimate threat."
He added: "She's been kept in a very uncomfortable position for in excess of 10 hours, so she has been and will be uncomfortable for some days to come.
"But she's in good hands, she's with mum and dad, who are the most important people to be with."
Police said there was no evidence that explosives had been used but that it was "a very, very elaborate hoax".
"It was made and certainly gave the appearance of a legitimate improvised explosive device," Mr Murdoch said.
Mr Pulver is the chief executive of a leading technology company and the family lives in Mosman, one of Sydney's most exclusive neighbourhoods.
Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has also spoken out about the attack, saying: "When I looked at it this... the first thing I said was 'it's like a Hollywood script, the kind of thing you would see at the cinema or on TV'.
"You would never expect it to happen in real life in Australia."