Depths of despair to high folly

Lema Samandar – Daily Telegraph 3/12/2012

A man climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to draw attention to this marital plight because he was not a “letter writing type of guy”.

Former soldier Michael Fox caused peak-hour chaos when he scaled the Bridge on May 13 last year and unfurled a banner saying “pls help my kids”

Detective Sergeant Andrew Gill yesterday told Downing Centre Local Court he first heard about the incident on a commercial radio station while driving to work.

He later went to North Sydney Police Station to interview the father of three who would only give him information off the record.

“I said, ‘ You put on quite a show, haven’t you?’.”

“He was quite agitated at that and said to me with several expletives involved, ‘You don’t know what it’s like to lose a child’.”

Sgt Gill said he had had a child who had died, which calmed Fox down.

Fox had then confided he desperately wanted access to his children and didn’t know where they were.

He said authorities had told him to make written inquiries to get access to his kids. But he said he “wasn’t the letter writing type of guy”

“The purpose of him climbing the Bridge was to draw attention to his plight and get access to his children.” Sgt Gill told the court.

He said Fox’s relationship with his wife had been tense for some time and there was a “history of AVO warfare” between the couple.

“In broad terms he explained to me he lived with his wife, who he was extranged from.

“There had been a fire at a property he had previously shared with his wife. A fire occurred when his wife and daughter were at home.”

He then told Sgt Gill that he had a thery about the fire at their Hunter Valley property.

“He made inquiries that suggested the insurance on the property had been increased and that had been done by his wife. He was outlining that she had a fininacial motive.” Sgt Gill said.

Fox, from Narrabeen , used ropes to climb to the top of the Bridge before dawn. He rappelled down at about 7am and was immediately arrested by police, but the stunt brought peak-hour traffic on the Bridge to a stop for more than two hours.

He has pleaded not guilty to obstructing traffic, climbing or jumping from buildings or other structures, and climbing on bridges.

The hearing, before Magistrate Daryl Pearce, continues today.

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