VIDEO: Sydney ‘bomber’ gives himself up, ends siege
Published 06/09/2011 | 08:00
The 11-hour siege involving an Australian man who was holding his young daughter hostage has ended peacefully.
Police stormed the building and arrested the man. His daughter is said to be severely traumatised and has been reunited with relatives.
The man had claimed to have a bomb in his backpack and locked himself and his daughter inside the offices of a Sydney legal firm, sparking the city's second bomb-related drama in five weeks.
Police had cordoned off several streets in Parramatta, in the city's west, evacuating scores of office workers, and were taking all threats made by the man seriously, Assistant commissioner Denis Clifford said.
The man's daughter was "as well as she can be", and there was no specific threat against her but police were desperate to secure her release, he said.
Negotiators were talking to the man over the phone, and he had made a series of demands. Officers were also working to determine his identity, Mr Clifford said.
"He has told us he has a device in the bag, that itself is of great concern," he said.
"We have to assume what he is saying is true at this stage." Despite the legal office's location close to the family law courts, Mr Clifford said police did not believe the incident related to a custody battle.
The siege began shortly before 9am when the man, aged in his 50s, and his daughter, aged 10 or 11, entered the barristers chambers.
Receptionist Betty Hor said he demanded to talk to a man whom she had never heard of, and when she told him that there was no one in the building of that name he became angrier and more frustrated until he "snapped" and threw a book at the reception desk.
"He said, 'Call the attorney general, I've got a bomb in my backpack', she said."
Ms Hor rang police who arrived on the scene after the man had locked himself and his daughter into one of the barrister's chambers.
The man later appeared at a top window of the three-storey building shirtless and wearing a barrister's wig. He gave bystanders the thumbs up, before taking off the wig, spitting on it and giving the thumbs down sign.
Several hours later he smashed a window in the building with a bottle and reportedly shouted to police: "I don't care if I die". There was no sign of the girl.
Five hours after the siege began, armed police could be seen entering the building. Ambulances, paramedics and fire engines were on standby outside.
The incident comes five weeks after a masked intruder broke into a mansion in the affluent northern Sydney suburb of Mosman and attached what he claimed was a collar bomb to a schoolgirl. The 18-year-old spent 10 terrifying hours attached to the device before police were able to free her and determine that the bomb was fake. A man has been arrested in America over the extortion attempt.