Stuart MacGill with his girlfriend Maria O’Meagher – who is the sister of one of the men accused of kidnapping the star cricketer
A bikie associate and his brother are accused of being the hired muscle that helped kidnap cricket star Stuart MacGill to demand money from him.
Police allege the retired leg-spinner, 50, was bundled into a car by Comanchero associate Richard Schaaf, 29, and his brother Frederick Schaaf, 27, on the streets of Sydney’s lower north shore, before enduring a terrifying hour-long kidnapping ordeal.
The brother of MacGill’s one-time restaurateur girlfriend, Marino Sotiropoulos, 46, is also accused of being part of the bizarre alleged crime along with Son Minh Nguyen, 42 – who police say was the mastermind.
Court documents allege Sotiropoulos confronted MacGill near his home at Cremorne about 8pm on April 14.
Sotiropoulos is the sibling of Maria O’Meagher, MacGill’s partner who runs the popular Aristotle Greek restaurant in Neutral Bay.
It is understood they recently split as a couple, although a neighbour claimed she saw them together after the alleged kidnapping and that they were still together.
NSW Police allege the retired leg-spinner, 50, was bundled into a car by Richard Schaaf, 29, (left) and his brother Frederick Schaaf, 27, (right) on the streets of Sydney’s lower north shore, before enduring a terrifying hour-long kidnapping ordeal
Police allege that during the street confrontation, the Schaaf brothers appeared and forced MacGill into a car.
He was then allegedly taken to a remote property in Bringelly, in the city’s greater west, where police claim he was threatened with a gun.
Sotiropoulos has been charged with kidnapping and causing actual bodily harm, participating in a criminal group and supplying 2kg of cocaine.
He was refused bail on Wednesday.
MacGill took six days to report the alleged kidnapping to police because the apparent incident had instilled ‘significant fear’ in him, officers said. Police said the cricketer was ‘purely’ a victim of crime.
Cricket legend Stuart MacGill was taken away from his home in Cremorne (pictured, sat in the back seat) to give a statement on Wednesday morning after four men – including the brother of his girlfriend – were arrested
Stuart MacGill is the general manager of the Greek restaurant Aristotle in Neutral Bay. His girlfriend, Maria O’Meagher, is the owner. It is not suggested she had any role in the alleged kidnapping
One of the four men arrested by police in relation to the alleged kidnapping of former Australian spin bowler Stuart MacGill
Another of the arrested men is bundled out of a police wagon following a series of raids on Wednesday
There Schaaf brothers were were arrested in Caringbah and Sutherland respectively during police raids on Wednesday morning.
Both were charged with participating in a criminal group and kidnapping with assault causing actual bodily harm.
Nguyen was charged with knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group and being an accessory to the alleged kidnapping and assault.
Each of the men faced Sutherland Local Court after midday. There is no suggestion of any involvement by Ms O’Meagher whatsoever.
Police Robbery and Serious Crime Squad commander Anthony Holton told reporters that the motive behind MacGill’s abduction was unknown, but confirmed MacGill had a ‘personal relationship’ with one of the accused.
The acting detective superintendent said ‘yes’ when asked if a mate had turned on him.
According to a police timeline, MacGill was allegedly kidnapped in Cremorne, driven to Bringelly in the city’s west and then released in Belmore
MacGill and Ms O’Meagher behind the bar at the restaurant they have ran together for years
The Aristotle was closed at lunchtime on Wednesday with its general manager, MacGill, giving a statement to police
Despite friends claiming MacGill was facing financial difficulties, the acting detective superintendent said it was not related to the cricketer owing a debt.
‘I can say his kidnapping is not involved in any other backstory that leads to him having a personal debt to other people that he had to pay back,’ Supt Holton said.
‘He’s purely being treated as a victim of this kidnapping’.
An hour after arriving at the Bringelly address, MacGill, who played 44 Test matches for Australia and three One Day Internationals, was then driven to the Belmore area, in the city’s south-west, where he was released and dumped by his alleged attackers, police said.
As detectives from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad continued to probe the incident on Wednesday morning, MacGill was led out of his luxury apartment by plain clothed detectives and taken to a waiting police car, just before 11am.
MacGill, who was wearing jeans and a hoodie, crouched in the back of the unmarked SUV as it drove off towards a nearby police station where he is understood to have given a statement about the April 14 alleged attack.
Shortly before 11am on Wednesday morning, MacGill was led out of his luxury apartment (pictured) by plain clothed detectives and taken to a waiting police car
Four men have been arrested after Stuart MacGill was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint
Stuart MacGill is seen with ex-wife Rachel Friend back in 2005. The couple had two children together
‘We believe the motive was purely financial, to obtain money from him,’ police said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
‘They are a criminal gang, it was a targeted kidnapping with the motivate to take money from him with no ransom.’
MacGill was in the news back in 2019 after he was caught behind the wheel while almost three times over the legal limit.
He had an ‘unknown number of glasses of red wine’ when police pulled him over on Military Road, in Sydney’s north shore, late on November 21, 2019.
In 2017, he agreed to an apprehended violence order (AVO) taken out by police on behalf of his ex-girlfriend Julie Singleton.
Police applied for the order after an incident between MacGill and Ms Singleton – the ex-wife of multi-millionaire John Singleton – in December 2016.
MacGill had been working at Aristotle’s Neutral Bay with his current partner before he was allegedly abducted. He is pictured at the restaurant with former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (second from the left)
He was served the AVO on Boxing Day that year and later agreed to it in court without admitting fault.
MacGill has two kids with ex-wife Rachel Friend. He married the former Neighbours actress in 2000 before separating in 2013.
MacGill, who is originally from Perth, made his Test debut in Adelaide against South Africa in 1998.
He has been acknowledged as having the best strike-rate of any modern spin bowler but was unlucky to find himself in the mix at the same time as cricket legend Shane Warne.
He struggled to hold his place in the squad as there was hesitation to have two wrist-spinners at once.
MacGill retired from Test cricket in 2008.
MacGill has been general manager of Aristotle’s, a modern Greek restaurant in Neutral Bay, for more than three years
MacGill played 44 Test matches for Australia and three One Day Internationals. He is pictured in 2005
STUART MACGILL: A TIMELINE
1998: MacGill makes Test debut for Australia in Adelaide
2000: MacGill marries former Neighbours actress Rachel Friend
2008: MacGill retires from Test cricket
2013: MacGill separates from his wife, who he has two children with
2016: Police apply for an AVO against MacGill on behalf of his ex-girlfriend Julie Singleton
2019: MacGill is caught driving three times over the legal limit
2021: MacGill is allegedly kidnapped and assaulted