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The day a Bundy man helped foil a $600k extortion plot

SUPPORT: Former Member for Bundaberg Clem Campbell took Mr Medley's case to parliament.
SUPPORT: Former Member for Bundaberg Clem Campbell took Mr Medley's case to parliament. Emma McBryde

NEXT month will mark 21 years since the life of a Bundaberg bank manager was turned upside-down.

Steve Medley was working as a branch manager at Metway when he helped foil a $600,000 extortion attempt.

On February 25, 1997, Mr Medley arrived at work and opened his mail. It was then he discovered a demand for $600,000 in notes.

The note threatened the safety of his family and staff members if he did not follow instructions.

After speaking with senior Metway staff, he contacted police, who asked Mr Medley to act as a go-between.

He bravely accepted and his wife, Colleen, and their children were placed under police protection.

The extortionist made several demands, which involved Mr Medley driving to Gympie, returning to Bundaberg and then flying to Brisbane.

On arrival at Brisbane Airport, Mr Medley was told to wait for further instructions from the extortionist, with the sting to be arranged at the Aspley Motor Inn.

However, after phone conversations with the extortionist, Mr Medley was able to recognise the voice on the other end.

Police swooped and made their arrest.

His heroic acts saved lives that day, but the event took a terrible toll on his own life.

In submissions tabled in parliament, Mr Medley began looking over his shoulder, was unable to sleep, constantly nervous and ended up suffering a breakdown.

In an interview with the NewsMail at the time, Mr Medley spoke of his despair.

"The extortion passed with an arrest and I was ready to resume my life - this was not to be,” he said.

"The trauma set in and my life became a misery. I couldn't face work and felt I had to stay and protect my family.

"I stayed awake all night and investigated every outside noise.

"I finally cracked as I felt I had nowhere to go.”

Mr Medley said he spent some time in the mental health unit at Bundaberg Hospital, meeting with doctors, counsellors and psychiatrists.

"It was a great come-down from my previous station, however I just wanted to get well,” he said.

"My family had suffered enough.”

Mr Medley was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He had eight months off work before returning, but not in the same role.

The biggest blow, however, was yet to come.

When the Suncorp-Metway merger was announced, rather than assuming an area manager's role, Mr Medley was told that there were in fact no jobs available for him and he would be made redundant.

"I am still on medication, the trial of the accused had not even occurred and I am not yet fully rehabilitated,” he said at the time/.

"Doctors and counsellors are flabbergasted at not only the insensitivity but the destruction this decision will cause.

"My family will be economically disadvantaged because the redundancy is a mere pittance. Their father will now go on the dole or sickness benefits.

"Facing death in the line of duty is something few people are trained to handle. I have faced it now so many times I expect to be treated with a little more consideration, not thrown on the scrap heap to wither and fade away.”

Before the extortion attempt, Mr Medley was active in the community as member of Crime Stoppers, was active in the Western Suburbs football club and served on the Bundaberg Port Authority.

The poor treatment of Mr Medley was enough to spark former Member for Bundaberg Clem Campbell to take his plight to his fellow parliamentarians.

"This is not the way that a leading Queensland financial institution should act. I believe that compassion should be shown to Mr Medley,” Mr Campbell said at the time.

"I asked the Treasurer to intervene and show some compassion for Mr Medley.”

”Victims of crimes are the ones who really suffer. They are the ones who in many ways pay the ultimate price for those crimes. I believe we should show some leadership today and ensure that we do something for Steve Medley.”



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