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Hostage 'assumed husband was alive'

A British woman snatched by pirates from an east African island is expected to return home later after being released from captivity.

Judith Tebbutt revealed she did not know that they had killed her husband for two weeks after she was kidnapped.

She was held hostage for more than six months after she was kidnapped off the Kenyan coast, but she was "hugely relieved" to be free. News of her ordeal came after her release from captivity, when a ransom was reportedly raised by relatives.

Mrs Tebbutt was taken from the remote Kiwayu Safari Village, close to the border with Somalia, last September by a gang who killed her husband David, 58.

She said in a video broadcast by the BBC: "He was a good man. That was very unfortunate, really horrible. But you just need to pick up the pieces and move on. I didn't know he'd died until about, I think it was two weeks from my capture. I just assumed he was alive, but then my son told me he'd died. That was difficult.

"And it must have been hard for my son as well, very hard, and he's been fantastic, he's been absolutely fantastic, I don't know how he secured my release, but he did, and I'm really happy, I can't wait to see him, really."

Mrs Tebbutt has been reunited with her son Oliver at the British High Commission in Nairobi and is expected to be returning to the UK later on Thursday. In a statement, she said: "I am of course hugely relieved to at last be free, and overjoyed to be reunited with my son Ollie.

"This, however, is a time when my joy at being safe again is overwhelmed by my immense grief, shared by Ollie and the wider family, following David's passing in September last year. My family and I now need to grieve properly."

It was reported Mrs Tebbutt's family paid a ransom of 1.3m US dollars (£800,000) for her release. A spokesman for the FCO said: "The Foreign Office did not make or facilitate the payment of a ransom."

Farmhand Ali Babitu Kololo, 25, has been charged in connection with the attack. He is said to have claimed he was forced to co-operate with the gang at gunpoint and had voluntarily gone to the police the next day to report the crime.


From Belfast Telegraph