Former Chiefs skipper Craig Clarke kidnapped

Former Chiefs skipper Craig Clarke. Photo / Kevin A Booth
Former Chiefs skipper Craig Clarke. Photo / Kevin A Booth

Former Chiefs rugby captain Craig Clarke was kidnapped by robbers fleeing police in Taranaki.

Details of the kidnapping were revealed in the New Plymouth District Court this week and reported by local news outlet, the Daily News.

The court heard that Clarke was the victim of a roadside kidnapping when he tried to play the Good Samaritan.

The former lock, who retired from rugby due to ongoing concussion problems, was flagged down by two men in south Taranaki in May last year. He stopped to give them assistance but was then carjacked and told to drive to the small town of Normanby.

Clarke said one of the two men pressed what he feared was a weapon against his neck.

One of the men, Daryl Ross O'Connell, had just robbed an antique store in Hawera.
O'Connell and another man had fled the store after the robbery and were pursued by police.

Their car ran out of petrol and the pair ran across a paddock where they flagged Clarke down.

The court heard Clarke feared he had a weapon pressed against him. He was told to drive.

According to the police report, a fearful Clarke told his captors: "I've got a couple of kids at home."

A police car pursued Clarke's vehicle and the rugby player was forced to drive dangerously by his captors to avoid it.

The pair demanded Clarke drop them in Normanby. He did and the two ran off before being apprehended by police.

Police later found stolen jewellery from the antique store in the original getaway car.

O'Connell was sentenced to jail for four years and three months for kidnapping, driving in a dangerous manner and failure to stop.

- NZ Herald

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