The RBWH.
The RBWH.

‘Let me go or I’ll blow up this hospital’: Story of RBWH ‘bomb’

"That patient has just shown me what appears to be a f**king bomb… get the patients and go out the back door."

Former frontline soldier Dean Douglass vividly remembers the tangle of wires strapped to body of the man threatening to blow up the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and the nearby showground packed to the brim with families enjoying the Ekka.

"You picked a bad day to come to work man," would-be bomber Wayne Francis Wright told him.

Mr Douglass was working security at the hospital in August last year when he was asked by nurses to help deliver "bad news" to Wright that he would be detained at the hospital due to mental health concerns, which causes him to become agitated.

"I was like hey mate that sucks but I'm here to help, do you want a cup of tea, how can I help you," Mr Douglass said.

"And he started saying things that were really out of character to that moment in time and he goes 'you picked a bad day to come to work man'."

The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. Picture: AAP Image/Attila Csaszar
The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. Picture: AAP Image/Attila Csaszar

Mr Douglass, who served four tours with the Army and was on the frontlines in Afghanistan, asked Wright if he was carrying a weapon and began to move back to create distance and pulled out his baton when Wright told him: "'you're going to need something bigger than that to deal with this".

Wright quickly lifted his shirt for about one second to flash a series of plastic items about the shape of mobile phones fixed together and covered by a tangle of exposed and insulated wires and a large red button.

"It took my breath away," Mr Douglass said.

"And he goes, 'mate let me go or I'll blow up this hospital'.

"I was still chewing on a biscuit, it was about 9am and I was still having my morning tea and I'm thinking what is going on here."

The decorated soldier said the bomb looked "realer than some of the real ones I've seen" and throughout the ordeal, the agitated Wright continued to motion towards the device while making threats.

"I knocked on the nurses' station door and said 'guys that patient has just shown me what appears to be a f***ing bomb. You guys have got to go, you've got to get out of here.

"The girls started freaking out and I was like I'm not playing you've got to go.

"I was so scared. I said to the staff ,'go, try to get the patients go out the back door'."

Terrified staff embraced each other, certain they were going to die in the horrifying incident.

Former RBWH security guard Dean Douglass is a decorated former soldier who served in Afghanistan. Picture: John Gass
Former RBWH security guard Dean Douglass is a decorated former soldier who served in Afghanistan. Picture: John Gass

Meanwhile Mr Douglass warned his colleagues and supervisors of the threat and ensured the police were called.

"I went back outside and I started talking to him and I said 'mate what do we need to do that doesn't result in you blowing us all up' and he said 'just let me go' and I told him 'I can't do that mate, there's families across the road at the show I'm not letting you go'.

'I said do you smoke, I'll go get some smokes sorted and you and I'll go out in the court yard because all I could think was just get it outside, get it contained in the courtyard at least so there's a chance for everyone else to leave."

Mr Douglass took Wright outside who pulled up the hood of his jumper in the cold.

"I noticed then that he couldn't see me anymore so I motioned to the guys that were there and said I'm gonna jump on him and tie him up," he said.

"I just thought it's go time now. If I go I go and if I don't I don't. This situation is only going to get worse from here.

"I jumped on him, I put him in a jiu-jitsu technique called a guillotine, he was frantically reaching for the thing at his gut, it makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.

"I holding one of his arms away, one of my colleagues jumped on his other arm, one of the male nurses came out and jumped on his legs.

"I started to pull my handcuffs out and I think I got one side of my handcuffs up and I looked up and there's about 30 cops standing there they'd come from everywhere. Cops from the Valley, some had run over from the EKKA, some came in their cars, some in civilian clothing, it was everything short of SEAL Team Six coming in on a helicopter."

"They took over and rolled him over and he was covered in wires and then we could see a slingshot was the main structure of what he'd built and he'd fixed everything to it with the wires," he said.

It turned out Wright, who had spent the night in a ward before presenting at the emergency department had constructed the fake bomb overnight using medical equipment from the hospital.

Mr Douglass and his colleagues Paul Kinnear and Cameron Denman were each nominated by other Queensland Health staff for a Bravery Medal for their actions that day.

Wright was sentenced to two years and four months' probation in December over the incident.


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