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The BBC's Daniela Relph
"His flight was quickly picked up by police"
 real 56k

Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 22:50 GMT
Author bailed after palace stunt
Buckingham Palace
The man dropped in on the palace forecourt
A "desperate" Australian author who landed his paraglider on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in order to win a publishing deal has been released on police bail.

Armed police were waiting to arrest Brett De La Mare, who was tailed by a police helicopter as he flew low over central London before landing in the area where the changing of the guard takes place.

A palace spokesman said no members of the Royal Family were in the building at the time of the incident, at about 1310GMT on Thursday.

I thought about getting shot, but the London police are famous for their restraint

Brett De La Mere

Mr De La Mere, 36, has been bailed until 5 January, when he will learn if he will face charges.

Following his Thursday night release, the author said he had decided to breach palace security through frustration at not having his book published, and was prepared to "do what it takes to get noticed".

"I thought about getting shot, but the London police are famous for their restraint and their bravery," he said.

Mr De La Mere - who has previously flown a paraglider around the Empire State Building in New York - said: "I am looking for a six-figure offer from a publisher.
Brett De La Mere
Mr De La Mere says he has carried out other stunts in the US

"I put my life on the line because the cause was that serious. I have been living off my savings for the past six months and I am nearly broke."

Publishing in Australia would not generate enough money, he said, because audiences for best-sellers are small.

Talking about his treatment by police officers, he said: "They have got a good sense of humour and are very courteous and professional."

Amateur video captured his landing
Palace security moved in as soon as he landed
Mr De La Mare said he had six months' flying experience and claimed both family and friends were behind his publicity-seeking exploits.

"They wouldn't be human if they didn't worry," he said.

He realised he could face jail for his exploits, but claimed a book deal would make it worthwhile.

He was arrested by officers from the Royal Diplomatic Protection Group as he landed in the area at the front of the palace.

Paragliders are controlled by a pilot suspended on a harness under a special controllable parachute.

A police helicopter had tailed the paraglider from Hampstead Heath, over Regent's Park, down Whitehall and the Mall before it landed.

Swift police response

Mr De La Mere was arrested under the Air Navigation Order, for allegedly endangering the safety of aircraft.

The author - who claims on his website to have recently flown around New York's World Trade Centre and Empire State building - said he had received some interesting offers from publishers after the latter stunt, "but none which were suitable".

Senior members of the Royal Family are currently at Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk estate, for the Christmas and New Year period.

Dave Thompson, technical officer of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, said flying paragliders over built-up areas is strictly illegal.

Royal security scares
1966: A concrete block falls onto the Queen's car during a visit to Belfast.
1974: Kidnappers try to grab Princess Anne from outside Buckingham Palace
1981: A teenager fires six blanks shots at the Queen's horse during Trooping of the Colour.
1982: Michael Fagan breaks into the Queen's bedroom.
1994: A demonstrator fires a starter pistol at Prince Charles in Sydney.
"You cannot fly anywhere above somewhere like London, even above a space like Hyde Park.

"Whether it's the Queen's house or anyone else's, you can't just go and land on it."

The Australian author was expecting to be arrested, judging by a message left on his telephone answering machine.

He said: "I'm sorry you've missed me, I'm incarcerated or something. Please leave me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I'm free."

The incident is the second time a flying intruder has breached royal security.

In 1994 naked American paraglider Jim Miller landed on the roof of the palace in one of the most bizarre entries into the Queen's London home.

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20 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
'Bomb man' arrested at Queen venue
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