Dad who held son in M4 siege jailed
DAD Paul Muller who brought the M4 in Swindon to a standstill for 32 hours after taking his son hostage in 2001 has been jailed.
Muller, now 55, went on the run for almost a decade after taking his two-year-old son hostage at knife- point in a dispute with his partner about custody.
The property developer fled in his camper van from a mobile home at Seaview Holiday Park, Sennen, near Lands End, when police arrived to arrest him for taking the boy from his mother on October 21, 2001.
He had a small black hand gun with him which later turned out to be a fake.
Police followed him along the A30 and M5 and a siege ensued when the camper van ran out of petrol close to the Wootton Bassett junction of the M4.
During the siege Muller falsely claimed he had a bomb on board and even used the youngster as a human shield to protect himself from the police.
Police were forced to close the motorway between junction 16 in West Swindon and junction 17 at Chippenham for 32 hours – the longest it has ever been closed for.
The incident caused bumper-to-bumper tailbacks for 20 miles.
Muller gave himself up and was arrested but then skipped bail and evaded justice for almost ten years.
He was only caught in December 2010 when he took second son, aged two-and-a-half hostage.
The incident happened at his home in Cambridgeshire when his partner called the police following a domestic argument.
On Wednesday Muller appeared at Truro Crown Court and was jailed for ten years for both incidents, less the 483 days he had already served on remand.
The court heard that in both instances Muller feared police were going to take his sons away.
Referring to the second incident, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark told him: “According to officers the child seemed terrified.
“You have twice used your own young sons as human shields to keep the police at bay.”
Judge Harvey Clark said: “The number of police, including a bomb disposal unit, and members of the emergency services involved and the chaos and inconvenience to the public was considerable.”
In August at Truro Crown Court, Muller was found guilty of making threats to kill his son in 2001 and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
He had admitted the bomb hoax. The court heard at the time Muller, who lived in Skegness, Lincoln-shire, had spent about two weeks in the holiday park before police arrived on October 19 with a warrant for his arrest.
During the hearing, Paul Rowsell, prosecuting, said the officers were forced to withdraw when Muller pushed past and grabbed a knife.
He brandished it at officers before holding it to his son’s throat and, when he jumped into the camper van, he pulled out a small black handgun.
Brian Fitzherbert, defending, said apart from the two incidents involving his sons, Muller was a man of good character. who organised overseas charity projects for disadvantaged children. in Mozambique and Sri Lanka.
He said: “Apart from these two incidents he has an unblemished, good character. No actual harm was caused to anyone.”
Speaking to the Adver at the time of the incident, Chief Inspector Stephen Long, who was in charge of the operation defended the decision to close the M4.
He said: “If we had only closed one carriageway there would soon have been an accident as people tried to see what was going on.
“We also had to make sure the public was safe and this incident was entirely contained.”