Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Hostage's family: Now we can grieve

The body of Alan McMenemy has been given to the British Embassy in Baghdad (FCO/PA)

The widow of a British hostage whose body was handed in to the British embassy in Baghdad five years after he was kidnapped has said his family can now grieve for him properly.

Alan McMenemy, a security guard from Glasgow, was snatched in Iraq by gunmen along with three other guards and an IT expert they were protecting in 2007.

After his body was handed over on Friday, Roseleen McMenemy said his loved ones can "draw some comfort from the fact that we have him home at last".

The only one of the men to be released alive was the bodyguards' protection target, Peter Moore. He was freed in December 30 2009, 946 days after he was kidnapped. The bodies of the three other guards were passed to British authorities in Iraq that same year.

Alec MacLachlan, 30, from Llanelli, South Wales, Jason Swindlehurst, 38, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and Jason Creswell, 39, originally from Glasgow, were abducted with 36-year-old computer expert Mr Moore and Mr McMenemy, who was 34 at the time of the kidnap. They were snatched by militants posing as police at the Iraqi finance ministry in May 2007.

David Cameron said: "It is with great sadness that I can confirm that the British embassy in Baghdad received a body today that has been identified as Alan McMenemy, who was kidnapped in Baghdad in 2007, along with four other men. My thoughts are with Alan's family and friends at this time."

The Prime Minister said of Mr McMenemy's family: "They have waited so long for his return and I hope that this will allow them to find some peace after an ordeal that no family should ever have to suffer. At this time we should also take time to remember the families of Margaret Hassan and Ken Bigley who are still waiting for the return of their loved ones."

The Foreign Office released a statement on behalf of Mrs McMenemy, which said: "Our families have suffered terrible uncertainty and distress over the past four years and eight months. We have worried about Alan every single minute of each waking day.

"We now know that we will shortly have Alan home again, this will allow us to properly grieve for him and we will draw some comfort from the fact that we have him home at last. I would like to thank my wider family, all our friends, colleagues, the many organisations and others too numerous to name who have stood with us over this most difficult of times. Without their support we would not have made it through these dark days.

"I would respectfully ask that we as a family are allowed the space and time to grieve in our own way, and if at all possible to attempt to return to some form of normal life."

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