An Australian man has been charged with faking his own abduction and kidnapping in order to spend New Year’s Eve with his lover instead of his girlfriend.
It’s a very strange allegation, but 35-year-old Paul Iera was arrested on Thursday and charged with making false accusation with intent as well as false representation that resulted in a police investigation.
Speaking for the prosecution, Sergeant Kate McKinley from New South Wales Police told Wollongong Local Court this Friday that the investigation into Iera’s alleged kidnapping and abduction cost them and the state’s government more than AU $25,000 (£14,000), never mind wasting between 100 and 200 hours of police working time.
They claim that Iera left his house shortly before midnight on December 31, telling his girlfriend that he was leaving to meet his ‘financial guy’ in nearby Dapto.
Then, his girlfriend received a text allegedly from a sex worker claiming to have kidnapped him.
It is believed that Iera had a history with the sex worker, who later text his girlfriend a few times in order to explain the ‘kidnapping’.
Those texts said: “[Partner] it’s ‘[name]’ thank you for sending Paul to me, now payback is a b**** bye bye.
“But I’m going to be fare [sic] OK, we will keep him with us until the morning wen [sic] he gives us his bike we call it square, no one’s touching him my word I’ll give you hun OK”.
Iera’s partner – quite reasonably – called the police, believing that Iera had been kidnapped because of his AU $7,000 (£3,900) dirt bike and was being held hostage.
Instantly, the police launched an investigation into his whereabouts, searching through hours of CCTV and interviewing witnesses.
However, during those CCTV investigations, Iera was allegedly captured on camera entering the home of his lover with an overnight bag.
That took place between the times of the texts that were sent to his girlfriend, local press has reported.
In a statement after Iera’s court appearance, NSW Police said: “It was established the man allegedly made up the story about his own kidnapping.”
The court was also told that Iera had called his dad the day after to say he’d been kidnapped, but was going to be left back at his car by his captors.
In their investigations, police discovered that those calls came from Dapto, not Wollongong where he claimed to be.
Seven minutes later, CCTV footage allegedly shows Iera and his lover getting into her car. The woman then came back on her own a short while later, allegedly having dropped Iera at his van.
Iera’s white van was then subject of a ‘high-risk vehicle stop’ by police who believed he might have been captive inside it.
He then told the police that he’d been kidnapped by some men and driven off, before being dropped back to await further instructions.
Police contest this, claiming that no vehicle matching the one Iera described as belonging to the kidnappers was ever seen.
His mother, sister, and partner accompanied him to court for the case, which was described by the magistrate as ‘quite bizarre’, though he did grant Iera bail.
He’ll be back in court later on this month.