Police fear man on the run in Bunbury is armed

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Police allege the victim went to the Bunbury home in the early hours of Wednesday morning to buy drugs before he was allegedly assaulted and detained.
Camera IconPolice allege the victim went to the Bunbury home in the early hours of Wednesday morning to buy drugs before he was allegedly assaulted and detained. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

A man is in custody and another is on the run with police fearing he has a firearm, following an alleged incident in which a man was held hostage in a Bunbury home over a drug debt.

The frightening details were revealed in Bunbury Magistrates Court yesterday when one of the alleged men behind the incident was refused bail over concerns he knew where the victim and his family lived and that he would interfere with the investigation.

Daniel Benham Page, 33, of Bunbury, has been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and detaining another with intent to gain a benefit after he allegedly held the 31-year-old victim in his home for more than an hour on Wednesday morning.

Mr Page appeared in court yesterday when his lawyer argued that he should be released on bail because he denied “orchestrating or participating” in the alleged incident and he would be unable to support his young family while behind bars.

The court was told, the victim went to the Picton Road home in the early hours of Wednesday morning to buy drugs before he was allegedly assaulted and detained.

Police allege the man was punched and kneed to the head before what was believed to be a firearm was pushed into his head.

The victim was allegedly moved between several rooms in the house, told to keep his head down and given a mobile phone and told to arrange money to pay off his debt.

Police say the alleged attackers then used a baseball bat to hit the victim on his arms and legs.

The court was told, the alleged attackers saw police cars driving past the home on closed-circuit TV cameras and told the victim they would kill him if he told police, with police alleging Mr Page said “if I go to jail, you’re dead”.

Police eventually arrived at the home and allegedly found the victim in a rear shed at the property with Mr Page arrested in the rear yard.

The victim was taken to hospital with a fractured forearm and bruising and swelling to several parts of his body.

Legal aid lawyer Kathryn Flanagan said the victim had turned up at the home uninvited and Mr Page denied any drugs were bought or consumed at the property.

Police prosecutor Sgt Darren Clifton said Mr Page’s alleged co-offender was still on the run and he might have a firearm.

Sgt Clifton said the debt was still “yet to be settled” and police had found numerous shotgun shells at the house along with a modified nail gun.

Magistrate Belinda Coleman said while Mr Page did not have a long criminal record, he had spent time behind bars for drugs and weapons charges.

Magistrate Coleman said the incident was “extremely” serious and she was not satisfied Mr Page would not interfere if released on bail.

Mr Page will remain in custody and is due to appear in court next month.

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