Abduct denial driven by fear

AN Albury woman had co-operated with her alleged abductors as a ploy and told Victorian police she had not been abducted, a committal hearing heard yesterday.

But Victoria Wood-Bradley contacted NSW police days after last year’s alleged abduction when she felt safe back in Albury.

The bizarre circumstances of her self-proclaimed “tactical” decision were outlined in Albury Local Court yesterday to magistrate Megan Greenwood.

Ms Wood-Bradley said she felt alone and isolated in Melbourne, but safe with friends and family in Albury.

She gave evidence at the committal of former husband, Mohamad El Ali, 32, and his alleged Melbourne associates Pedro Leon, 27, and Ahmed Lebdeh, 26.

They have been charged with kidnapping on April 8 last year.

The court was previously told Ms Wood-Bradley was abducted about 10am by a clipboard-carrying “delivery man”.

She went to the door in her pyjamas after her cousin told her someone wanted to see her.

It is alleged she was taken to a van, with its back windows covered with blankets, and driven from Tenbrink Street, Albury, after making “a high-pitched type of scream”. Her cousin rang police.

Police allege El Ali, Leon and Lebdeh were in the van.

Ms Greenwood was told the van was driven to Kilmore where El Ali and Ms Wood-Bradley travelled to Melbourne by train. They got off the train at Hadfield and were stopped by police near El Ali’s home.

Ms Wood-Bradley said she had “waiting for an opportunity” to get away on the train but was prepared to do anything to keep El Ali happy.

Barrister Malcolm Thomas suggested to her: “It’s all acting”.

“Correct,” Ms Wood-Bradley said.

El Ali was arrested and police told Ms Wood-Bradley they believed she had been abducted, but she denied it.

She said she was determined to keep El Ali happy so he did not become violent.

She made a statement with Albury detectives in April about the circumstances of her abduction.

Ms Greenwood said there was enough evidence for El Ali, Leon and Lebdeh to be tried in the District Court at Albury.

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