Police officer stalker possessed explosives ‘mistakenly’ thought they were valuable, court said


A man who harassed a police officer who investigated him for possession of explosive devices believed they were valuable and would help him recover financially from a dispute with Centrelink, an Adelaide court has heard.

Oswald Bruggemans, 65, pleaded guilty to harassing a police officer in Victor Harbor in February.

Adelaide Magistrates’ Court heard that Bruggemans followed the detective’s son – who was friends with his own teenage son – home, before yelling at the boy and his mother that their father and husband were a “corrupt cop”.

Prosecutor Kos Lesses told the court the victim investigated Bruggemans for explosives offenses in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

“For almost 10 years, Mr. Bruggemans became obsessed and paranoid of the victim,” he said.

“The offense was committed in response to and in retaliation for the work done by this officer.”

Bruggemans’ attorney, Wayne Carlin, told the court his client suffered from a paranoid personality disorder and that he was “ill-advised” to think the officer had a vendetta against him.

Mr Carlin said the father of four – who had received a disability pension for more than 20 years – had started committing offenses following a dispute with Centrelink.

“When he traveled overseas, his house was sold and a significant portion of the proceeds were returned to Centrelink,” Mr. Carlin told the court.

Mr Carlin said he appealed successfully and a sum of money was refunded, but it did not even cover his legal fees and he never recovered financially.

“He believed that if he could make any money out of it, he could turn the 2004 financial situation around and get back on his feet.”

“His behavior is getting worse”

Mr Carlin told the court his client had already spent more than seven months in custody and asked that any new sentences be suspended.

But Mr Lesses said the harassment offense had a substantial impact on the victim and her family, and Bruggemans is expected to spend at least a year in jail.

He said Bruggemans tracked down the officer while he was under arrest bond of good conduct.

“Mr Bruggemans has benefited from previous suspended or partially suspended bonds and, to be frank, they have not worked,” he said.

Magistrate John Wells said Bruggeman’s driving had escalated over the years and there remained a very high risk of recidivism.

“His lack of insight is of great concern.”

Bruggemans faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

He will be sentenced next month.


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