Former cricket star Stuart MacGill was so frightened after being kidnapped, assaulted and threatened with a gun that he waited almost a week to go to police.
“It would be a horribly traumatic experience to endure,” Detective Acting Superintendent Anthony Holton said on Wednesday.
Police say 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 April 14, before being taken to a remote location.
Three assailants 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 forced into the car after being confronted on the street by a 46-year-old man he knew.
Four men allegedly involved in the kidnapping, aged 46, 42, 29 and 27, were arrested in dawn raids on Wednesday.
MacGill’s “significant fear” led to his delay in reporting, Detective Superintendent Holton said.
“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.
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.
Detective Superintendent Holton said he had been held only for an hour at the property – at Bringelly in Sydney’s south-west – but it would have been a “frightful hour”.
“You’d be questioning what could potentially happen to you in that time,” he said.
He 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,” Detective Superintendent Holton 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.
The four men were taken to police stations and are in various stages of being charged. They were expected to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Police will be “closely monitoring” MacGill’s welfare, and officers were with him on Wednesday to check on him and let him know the outcome of the arrests.
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.
The two legspinners rarely played in the same Test match and MacGill’s most successful period was when first-choice Warne was suspended for 12 months in 2003/04 for taking a banned diuretic.
In Warne’s absence, MacGill claimed 53 wickets in 11 Tests.
And overall, MacGill’s strike-rate of 54 – the average amount of balls bowled for each Test wicket – bettered that of Warne (57.40).
MacGill was renowned for gaining massive spin but also for a detached and overtly-aggressive demeanour – he was suspended for two matches in 2006 for swearing at an umpire in Sydney grade cricket.
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.
The Perth-born MacGill, a renowned wine connoisseur, later hosted a pay television show titled Uncorked and was married to TV personality Rachel Friend from 2000 to 2013.