Plumber called as Bingle-Clarke romance flushed

Last updated 07:45 14/03/2010
Australian vice captain Michael Clarke and Lara Bingle
The Age
OVER: Cricketer Michael Clarke has officially ended his engagement to Lara Bingle.
Lara Bingle
Fairfax Zoom
Lara Bingle and Michael Clarke

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Plumbers received a 'distressed' call early yesterday from the luxury Bondi Beach apartment block where Michael Clarke and Lara Bingle lived together.

An employee of Sydney company Twin Pipes told The Sun-Herald he and a colleague attended the Campbell Parade property after being asked to retrieve an ''item of significant value''. They understood it was Bingle's $200,000 diamond engagement ring.

"We received an early morning call about 2.30-3am regarding a plumbing issue. Someone had placed something, worth a lot of money, down the toilet,'' he said. ''We worked there for several hours but had no luck so explained we needed to come back.''

The men returned with a camera and inspected the lines but still failed to find the object: ''We explained we would need to get a truck inside the unit block but that was refused. We were basically told to come back because they didn't want the media frenzy.''

The plumber said it was not unusual to ''retrieve certain valuable items from drains after these sorts of flashpoints''. As to the chance of retrieving a ring from a toilet, he rated it "50-50".

''It may have gone down the main shaft and, if it has, then we're in trouble,'' he said.

Sydney society jeweller Nic Cerrone, who created the 4.7-carat ring, was shocked by the split. ''They were a fabulous couple. It's just so sad that it's ended the way it has. Coming from an Italian family, it just breaks my heart,'' he said.

Speaking without knowledge of any plumbing saga, he said: ''I personally believe an engagement ring is a gift and it should be left up to the lady to decide whether she keeps it or returns it to the gentleman. [But] at the end of the day it's only a ring. It's just a material thing. What matters now is how they are feeling.''

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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