Bunbury siege hostage recalls the ‘surreal situation’

Kate FieldingBunbury Herald
Siege hostage Peter Williams.
Camera IconSiege hostage Peter Williams. Credit: South Western Times

The Bunbury man held hostage during a 12-hour siege that rocked the community has re-told the terrifying moments when he feared he would never see his family again.

Peter Williams had a spear gun pointed at his head before being chained up and taken hostage by a man with a “profound psychiatric illness” in July 2015.

David Charles Batty, 54, was jailed for four years and nine months on Wednesday over the dramatic stand-off with police that ended with Batty being shot with non-lethal beanbag rounds.

Batty warned police he had explosives on the night but a search of his belongings only uncovered wires.

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Mr Williams told the Bunbury Herald that he and his family were still reeling from the “surreal situation”.

“A lot of things went through my head that night, the one that sticks most is ‘am I going to see my family again’,” the father-of-five said.

“Every moment I was just trying to get through the next moment and trying to keep him calm.”

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Batty was on the run from a psychiatric hostel when he visited the laundromat Mr Williams owned in Bunbury on several occasions.

“He said to me in January, ‘I’m working on a project, you’re going to be part of something big’,” Mr Williams said.

He said the events which unfolded greatly affected him and his family, but he hoped the sentencing would help close this chapter of his life.

“It seems pretty lenient – is jail going to fix him? Probably not,” he said.

“If someone that ill comes off his medication, who’s going to make sure he keeps taking it?

“But for me, this whole thing was just a glitch in the system, I’m pressing play not pause.

“He didn’t affect my life before and he won’t affect it after.”

Mr Williams has since helped police with hostage training, which he said he had mixed feelings about.

“I’m really glad to help, but it hasn’t come without some anxious moments,” he said.

He said he would now move forward by continuing to provide for his family and living a “simplistic life”.

“The support from my family and the public has been great, I don’t feel alone in all this,” he said.

“I’m quite happy.”

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