Statement by Leanne Proud-Snatch for committal proceedings in the Magistrates Court at Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia:
My name is Leanne Proud-Snatch. I was born on 14 April 1978 at Crinkilldown Chase in the United Kingdom. I live at an address known to police.
On 25 November 2000, I came to Australia for a holiday with my boyfriend Peter Falconer. I have known Peter for approximately five years in our hometown of Crinkilldown Chase in the United Kingdom.
On 14 July 2001, we arrived at Melaleuca Creek where we camped for the night. Previous to that we had been at Alice Springs for about four days resting up, having driven from Sydney.
At Melaleuca Creek we got up very late for camping, something like about 9 am on the morning of 15 July 2001. We had to get up because the sun was shining in the Kombi and it was getting too hot to stay in the van.
When we got up, we decided to have a big breakfast which took sometime to prepare and cook. Then we decided to go for a walk in the bush which meant we didn’t get on the road till about 2 pm.
Then we drove to Burrows Creek, where we arrived at about 4 pm. Peter refuelled the Kombi and had a talk to the garage fellow about driving onto Darwin that night. While we were having a snack about a hundred meters from the garage we also smoked a joint. Peter had some dope left over from Sydney. We were hoping to get more in Darwin. I only occasionally smoke dope and never take any form of hard drugs.
After we finished the joint we decided to drive onto Darwin. The day had been fine and clear and not too hot. Peter said it was better to drive in the cool of the evening.
I would say we left Burrows Creek about 6 pm. It was getting on dark. As we were driving up the highway I recall a number of vehicles overtaking us. We were not going very fast.
At some stage after we left Burrows Creek, I can remember this strange looking fire ahead on the left hand side of the road. I never expected to see a fire near the road and immediately wondered if it was a bushfire and if we were in danger. At times it seemed to come in the direction of the road. The night was so dark and black and the fire was an intense brilliant orange red darting and dancing across the darkness.
I mentioned it to Peter but he said it was nothing and we would pass it soon and it would be gone. Shortly after that, I can not say exactly how long but I recall Peter yelling out, Thanks mate. This caused me to look his way and I could see a vehicle neck and neck with us as if it was about to pass, but it did not. It fell back behind us.
Peter then said we had to pullover as the there was fire coming from the exhaust, according to the chap in the other vehicle. He slowly pullover on the dirt verge beside the road and asked me to sit behind the steering wheel and rev the engine while he got out to have a look at the problem.
I moved over and sat behind the steering wheel and waited for him to call out. As I revved the engine, I heard a loud bang. Then a man came up to the side of the Kombi and pointed a silver gun at me.
Then he said turn off the engine. I froze. He got in telling me to move over and then began to put homemade things on my wrists. As we struggled, I was wrestled to the other side of the Kombi.
Eventually we fell out of the passenger side of the vehicle as I opened the door to escape. I was forced down on my stomach while he tied my hands behind my back. He then turned around and sat on my back while he tried to tie my feet together. I kicked and kicked my feet and legs like a swimmer to prevent him from tying my feet together. He then punched me in face hard. It hurt.
He dragged me to my feet and grabbed the back of my neck with a vice like grip and frogmarched me to his vehicle; I was screaming at the top of my voice for Peter, and looking everywhere for him.
He reached under the tarp over the back of his vehicle behind the passenger seat for a bag which he pulled over my head. Then he pushed me into the passenger seat of his vehicle and the bag fell off. There was a dog on the seat, a blackish blue dog which moved over to the driver’s seat and sat there quietly looking ahead.
The man moved away to the other side of the vehicle. I wiggled in between the seats and then into the back. From there I could see sky from under the tarp. With my hands tied behind my back, I managed to squirm across bedding and out from under the tarp onto the ground.
I then stood up and ran off into the dark away from the road into the bush. It was pitch-black. I could see nothing but I kept heading into the bush. He was behind me, I could hear him.
I could see an object that looked blacker than the rest so I hid under it. All the time I could hear him crashing through the undergrowth looking for me, shinning his torch everywhere. Not long after he gave up and moved the Kombi off the road into the bush and then he drove off.
Sometime later, after about two or three hours I decided to seek help after I managed to free my hands from the homemade handcuffs. Then I waited for a truck to go by on the road so I could wave it down which I did.
I would describe the man as 40 to 45 years old, medium build, dark straight hair shoulder length with grey steaks, long thin face, Aussie accent, thick droopy moustache, and heavy eye-bags. He was driving a white four wheel drive tray back with bucket seats with a blue heeler dog in the front.
Signed Leanne Proud-Snatch
Oath Act Declaration, I, Leanne Proud-Snatch do solemnly and sincerely declare that:
1 This written statement by me dated 16 July 2001 is true to the best of my knowledge and belief; and
2 I make this statement that if it were admitted as evidence; I may be liable to prosecution for stating in it anything I know to be false.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Oaths Act 1867. Signed Leanne Proud-Snatch
Taken and declared before me at Alice Springs, this 16th day of July 2001. Witness: signed Gary Parsons, Justice of the Peace. Buy the complete book from Amazon Kindle ebooks $2.99