Two charged over al­leged Ootha fire and kid­nap­ping of women and boys

The Guardian Australia - - News -

New South Wales po­lice have laid charges against al­leged home in­vaders who al­legedly knocked a man un­con­scious, burned his home to the ground and snatched his part­ner, her daugh­ter and grand­chil­dren.

The en­su­ing man­hunt, in­volv­ing dog units and a po­lice he­li­copter, ended near Syd­ney, hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres away from where it started.

Two men armed with a shot­gun, knife and axe al­legedly went to a home in Ootha, near Con­dobolin, about 5am on Tues­day and as­saulted a 68-yearold male oc­cu­pant and knocked him un­con­scious, po­lice said. It’s un­der­stood the man was al­legedly struck in the head with a shot­gun and left with a se­ri­ous in­jury.

Po­lice said when the man re­gained con­scious­ness, the home had been de­stroyed by fire. He couldn’t find his 71year-old part­ner, her 41-year-old daugh­ter

and two grand­sons, aged 13 and 14.

It was thought the al­leged kid­nap­pers

and ab­ductees were headed to­wards the cen­tral coast or Hunter re­gion but were even­tu­ally traced to the north­west of Syd­ney. Two men, aged 23 and 29, were ar­rested that night near Sackville while the 71-yearold wo­man and the two boys were found on a road­side in nearby Wind­sor.

A third man, aged 44, and the 41year-old wo­man who was with him, were lo­cated with help from po­lice dogs and PolAir in bush­land about 20km north of Wind­sor a few hours later. The man was ar­rested and the wo­man was taken into the care of lo­cal po­lice be­fore be­ing re­united with her fam­ily.

The 23- and 29-year-old men were charged with a litany of of­fences and re­fused bail to ap­pear at Pen­rith lo­cal court on Wed­nes­day. The 44-year-old man may be charged after un­der­go­ing med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions in a Syd­ney hos­pi­tal.

Pho­to­graph: Me­lanie Fos­ter/AAP

A po­lice man­hunt has found the women and boys al­legedly ab­ducted from Ootha.

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