Australia man 'steals bulldozer to crush cars and home'

Media caption, Aerial footage showed the flattened buildings, as Lucy Hockings reports

A man has been arrested for allegedly using a stolen bulldozer to crush four vehicles and a house in Australia's New South Wales.

The 48-year-old was expected to be charged with about 11 offences over the incident in Teralba, outside Newcastle.

A woman and her two daughters who were inside the house at the time escaped moments before it was knocked down.

The man's motive is not clear, but police said he was known to the occupants of the house.

The bulldozer was allegedly stolen earlier from a nearby mine.

'Pepper spray'

Police said that early on Monday morning the man drove the bulldozer to the suburban house, crushing three cars parked in front of it and another parked at the side of the property.

Image source, DAN PROUDMAN
Image caption, The four cars were badly damaged

He first headed towards a detached garage on the property, said police, where a 29-year-old man was sleeping at that time.

"When he heard the bulldozer coming over the top of the cars, he came out of the shed," police spokesman David Matthews told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The driver briefly pursued the man, who ran away, scaled a fence, and sought shelter in a paddock next door.

The driver then turned towards the back of the house and flattened the building.

A neighbour ran over and helped a 56-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged 15 and 20, from their home shortly before the building was knocked down.

Image source, Newcastle Herald
Image caption, The occupants of the house were reportedly helped to safety by a neighbour
Image source, Newcastle Herald
Image caption, Family members are now picking through the remains of the house

Police were called to the scene around 07:30 (20:00 BST on Sunday).

Officers managed to stop the bulldozer when it got stuck after it knocked down the house.

"(An officer) couldn't get into the bulldozer because the doors were secured so he smashed the window of the bulldozer and delivered an entire can of OC spray (pepper spray) into the cabin, which incapacitated the driver," Inspector Matthews said.

He added that the driver, who had previously lived with the family, had breached a court order banning him from assault or intimidation taken out against him by one of the women living in the house.

The driver is being questioned at Charlestown police station.

He was expected to be charged with attempted murder, the Newcastle Herald reports.

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