Ballina link to Pulver bomb case

THE case of the schoolgirl bomb hoax victim gripped the nation and made headlines all over the world, but the vital role played by a Ballina court officer in the international manhunt has gone largely unreported.

Police appeared as mystified as the public by the motives behind “the collar-bomb crime” when details emerged of the bizarre attack on teen Madeleine Pulver on August 3.

But 10 days later detectives from Strike Force Haddon believed they had enough evidence to charge a man who was in the United States.

It was 2am on a Saturday and the courts were closed for the rest of the weekend when the desperate police were seeking legal authority to move on the party in Kentucky they believed was behind the terrifying crime.

Step forward Ballina's registrar, Christine McKenzie, on call that weekend but not expecting to be dragged out of bed in the small hours to okay an arrest warrant for a fugitive on another continent.

She issued the warrant for the arrest of Paul Douglas Peters on charges of demanding property by force with intent to steal, special aggravated breaking and entering and committing an indictable offence and detaining a person with intent to hold to ransom.

Within hours, two officers from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad were on their way to Louisville, Kentucky, in pursuit of Mr Peters, 50.

They teamed up with FBI SWAT personnel to raid Mr Peters's ex-wife's home in La Grange to make the arrest.

Speaking from the FBI's Kentucky bureau, NSW Police Superintendent Commander Luke Moore said the ex-wife – who is not an Australian citizen – was not at home at the time of the arrest.

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