Launceston jury hears alleged kidnapping victim 'thought he would end up dead in a ditch'

A Victorian man allegedly kidnapped for money by six Tasmanians thought he was “going to end up dead in a ditch”, a Launceston jury has heard. 

Five men and one woman charged over the kidnapping of Anthony Mekhael have been on trial in the Launceston Supreme Court for the past two weeks.

On Friday, the jury was shown a police interview with Mr Mekhael from February 13, 2015, after he was allegedly taken at gunpoint, assaulted, robbed and threatened across three days.

Throughout the trial Mr Mekhael has given evidence, stating he could not recall speaking to Tasmania Police in 2015 or even being in the state due to “heavy drug use”.

The video footage showed Mr Mekhael detailing the allegations against the six accused – Caine Robert Richardson, Sean Gregory Richardson, Matthew Luke Williams, Malcolm Joshua Mayne, Christopher John Humphreys and Carly Ann Dekkers.

During the interview, Mr Mekhael told police Mr Caine Richardson and Mr Sean Richardson had taken him at gunpoint in Launceston.

Over the next three days, he said he was taken to a number of different houses and “kept changing cars all the time”.

One of those locations was Port Sorell, where Mr Mekhael initially told police he had been shot at by Mr Caine Richardson and “choked until he passed out” by another man.

Police suggested that man was Mr Mayne, but Mr Mekhael told police he did not play any part in the kidnapping.

It was when police told Mr Mekhael they had forensically examined a house at Port Sorell and found fingerprint evidence linking Mr Mayne to the scene that he admitted he did not want Mr Mayne “to get into any trouble”.

“He was pretty good to me,” Mr Mekhael said.

He told police he thought he was going to die during the alleged incident at Port Sorell.

“I actually shit myself … literally,” he said.

The court later heard from Tasmania Police Sergeant Paul Turner who said he found a pair of “soiled male underpants” at a house in Rocherlea while investigating the alleged kidnapping.

Tasmania Police had raided that Rocherlea home the day before, which was the third day of the alleged kidnapping ordeal.

Mr Mekhael said in his police interview that he managed to secretly text the Rocherlea address to his cousin on the third day.

He said police arrived “a few hours later” and arrested four of the accused and another male person.

The trial before Justice Robert Pearce is expected to continue on Monday.