Date: 17th March 2001
RUSSELL CROWE's would-be kidnappers had formulated a terrifying plot to torture, dismember and even murder the GLADIATOR star.
According to American supermarket tabloid the NATIONAL ENQUIRER, even hardened law enforcement officers were shocked by the details of the kidnapper's plot, which aimed at a ransom of a staggering $13 million (£8.6 million).
The plot of the international kidnappers, who are still at large, was discovered after Los Angeles police stumbled across the cold- blooded scheme making a routine traffic stop. A police insider has told the Enquirer, "Russell was in real danger - not only of being kidnapped, but also of being maimed, tortured and killed. "The kidnappers planned to ask for $13 million (£8.6 million) from movie studios. If the ransom was not paid within a certain amount of time, they would cut off one of Crowe's fingers every hour."
And friends of the OSCAR-nominated actor say, despite publicly making light of the situation, Crowe, who has been under 24-hour FBI security since the plot, is very shaken up by the kidnappers' threats. "Russell is a nervous wreck," a pal reveals. "He's been staying at the Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles) but has not been answering the door or the phone - not even for room service." (LE/NE/CPT)