Former Australian cricket star Stuart MacGill was so frightened after allegedly being kidnapped, assaulted and threatened with a gun that he waited almost a week to report it, NSW Police say.
“It would be a horribly traumatic experience to endure,” Detective Acting Superintendent Anthony Holton said on Wednesday.
Police allege a 50-year-old man, named by multiple media outlets as former Test cricketer MacGill, was forced into a car at Cremorne on Sydney’s north shore about 8pm on 14 April, before being taken to a remote location.
Three assailants allegedly held him there for an hour before dumping him in Belmore, in Sydney’s west, about 45 minutes’ drive away.
The leg-spinning bowler, who took 208 wickets for Australia in 44 Test matches between 1998 and 2008, was allegedly forced into the car after being confronted on the street by a 46-year-old man he knew.
Four men accused of being involved in the kidnapping, aged 46, 42, 29 and 27, were arrested in dawn raids on Wednesday and have since been charged with various offences.
They did not apply for bail at their first appearance in Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday afternoon.
The 27-year-old and 29-year-old have been charged with participating in a criminal group and taking or detaining in company with intent to get an advantage.
The 46-year-old has been charged with taking or detaining in company with intent to get an advantage, participating in a criminal group and supplying a large quantity of a prohibited drug, while the 42-year-old has been charged with knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group and taking or detaining in company with intent to get an advantage.
MacGill’s “significant fear” led to his delay in reporting, Det Supt Holton told reporters.
“Everyone experiences trauma differently,” he said.
“To be dragged into a car, driven to a remote location, physically assaulted, threatened with a firearm, held for a period of time then dumped, I think you’d be pretty worried about your own personal safety, the safety of your family and your friends,” he said.
It’s alleged the men’s motive was purely financial – to obtain “as much money as they possibly could” – but they didn’t issue a ransom demand and didn’t end up with any money.
MacGill sustained minor injuries but did not require medical treatment.
Det Supt Holton said there was no suggestion drugs were involved.
“I can say that his kidnapping is not involved in any other backstory that leads to him having any personal debt to people that he had to pay back,” he said when asked if MacGill owed money.
Police raided homes at Sutherland, Caringbah, Brighton Le-Sands, Banksia and Marrickville on Wednesday morning, where they seized electronic devices, clothing and vehicles.
They also searched a property in Bringelly.
Only 16 Australians have claimed more Test wickets than MacGill, although his career was stymied by the presence of fellow legspinner and the nation’s record wicket-taker Shane Warne.
After Warne’s retirement in 2007, MacGill’s career failed to fully flourish because of carpal tunnel syndrome in his right wrist and hand – his bowling arm.
Frustrated at not being able to perform at his best on return from surgery, MacGill abruptly announced his retirement midway through a 2008 Test match in the West Indies.
With additional reporting by SBS News.