A bodyguard of Richard Pratt, who was once rated the fourth richest person in Australia and who shared the bed of the billionaire’s mistress Madison Ashton kept guns stashed around his apartment as part of his “James Bond syndrome”, a court heard yesterday.
Sean Shane Bowman, one-time “head of security” for the boss of packaging giant Visy Industries, was caught with a trove of military weapons and illegal goods in a raid on his Rhodes unit in May last year.
Among the haul was an army-issue M4 automatic rifle fitted with a silencer that was stowed under the former New Zealand special-forces soldier’s bed.
The District Court was told the 38-year-old imported the weapon after discussing his purchase with Mr Pratt, who was once rated the fourth-richest person in the country.
The illegal items included an Afghani passport he used to open a fraudulent Australian bank account, police badges and false credentials for the CIA and international police organisation Interpol.
His barrister Ian Lloyd QC admitted his client, a 20-year-veteran of the security industry, had offered a “colourful account” of keeping the contraband because he liked collecting military “paraphernalia”.
“But there we have it, there are people who work in this industry who lead a life perhaps more interesting than us,” he said.
“He has a bit of a ‘James Bond syndrome’ with firearms and things firearm-related.”
During Ms Ashton’s unsuccessful bid to claim millions from Mr Pratt’s estate, the Supreme Court heard Bowman had been in an abusive relationship with the former prostitute while she was in an ongoing tryst with her wealthy, 70-year-old lover.
She claimed the billionaire had given permission for her to continue a more than year-long relationship with his bodyguard, who Justice Paul Brereton described as having “intimidating qualities”.
The court yesterday heard Bowman faced a lengthy prison term before being deported to New Zealand after pleading guilty to a string of charges, including possessing unregistered firearms, false documents and steroids.
Mr Lloyd said there was no doubt the 38-year-old’s security career was finished.
Bowman’s mother flew from Christchurch for the hearing and began sobbing as her son was taken to the cells. He will be sentenced next month.
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