Former NZ Cricket Captain flees with kids, sparks manhunt

Former Black Cap Mathew Sinclair speaks to a police officer outside McDonalds in Taradale after a domestic incident.
Former Black Cap Mathew Sinclair speaks to a police officer outside McDonalds in Taradale after a domestic incident. NZH

Former cricket star Mathew Sinclair sparked a manhunt when he vanished with his children after a domestic incident.

Police were called to the Hawke's Bay family home owned by the 39-year-old and his wife, Tina, about 3.30pm yesterday. It is understood Tina called police.

The Sinclairs have two young children, Liam and Holly, with whom Sinclair fled the Taradale property.

Officers found Sinclair and the children at a fast-food restaurant about an hour later. He accompanied officers outside, where they spoke for about 30 minutes. Sinclair then returned to the restaurant, before leaving with his children.

Mathew Sinclair leaves McDonalds in Taradale with his children.
Mathew Sinclair leaves McDonalds in Taradale with his children. NZH

Senior Sergeant Ross Smith wouldn't confirm the identity of those involved, but said: "It's a domestic between two partners going through a separation. [The man] left before police arrived."

Smith said the man had fled the property with his children.

The Herald on Sunday understands that it is the second time police have been called to the property in recent days.

Last night, Sinclair told the Herald on Sunday: "I've got no comment. I'm not saying anything at all."

Sinclair was once one of cricket's brightest stars, becoming an overnight sensation when he scored 214 on debut for New Zealand in 1999.

But he was unable to cement a spot with the team in an 11-year international career and has since made no secret of demons he has battled. He had a stint on the dole and was made redundant from a job as a sales assistant after retiring from professional cricket in July 2013.

In March, Sinclair, now a real estate agent, told an Indian Express reporter visiting Hawke's Bay for the Cricket World Cup that he was facing turmoil in his home life.

"The personal scene is tough," he said. "There are [a] few problems with my wife, I must admit. We are trying to work things [out] together.

"She has been a cricket widow for a long time - taking care of our kids while I have been away and also, this entire financial situation. It's not been easy for her. Or for me. We are working at it."

Last September, he told the Herald: "I can understand why sportspeople get depressed. You feel like you're not wanted after playing the game for so long when everything is done for you. It's hard to grasp where you're going next. It really played on my mind as the main bread winner with a young family."

Neighbours were shocked at police activity in the quiet cul-de-sac. One, who didn't want to be named, said: "We saw the police cars and saw an officer coming from the alleyway by the creek with a notepad. We know who lives there but we don't see the family a lot."

Topics:  black caps domestic violence editors picks

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