Former Libyan hostage speaks out over Gaddafi's death

PUBLISHED: 09:42 27 October 2011 | UPDATED: 09:56 27 October 2011

Robin Plummer

Robin Plummer

Archant

A FORMER hostage of Gaddafi's Libyan regime has spoke of the shock and closure he felt when news of the despot's demise broke.

Robin Plummer, who lived in Royston for more than 30 years, was kidnapped in 1984 on the eve of the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher and the siege of the Libyan Embassy.

The 60-year-old was one of four hostages snatched after a diplomatic row broke out over Libyan nationals held in the UK on bomb charges.

Mr Plummer was detained for nine months – a period of that in solitary isolation – and was freed after a diplomatic campaign spearheaded by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

His imprisonment left an undeniable impact on his life and he previously told The Crow the experience had “ruined my life, marriage, and finances” and “the impact of being taken hostage was life-changing – nothing was the same afterwards”.

Now a resident of Stotfold, he told The Crow he was sitting in a train coming out of London on Thursday when the news broke the tyrant had been killed.

“I had been in a meeting in London and had been watching the BBC news at 11 and 12 o’clock and I got the first phone call on the train,” he said.

“I was more surprised he was to be found in Sirte. I don’t know why it surprised me to see he effectively ran back home to momma – I expected him to have fled.

“There is a sense of closure I didn’t realise at the time but it started overnight.”

Colonel Gaddafi had ruled over Libya for 40 years and had, until the Arab Spring – which saw revolutions sweep across the Middle East – ruthlessly crushed dissent.

He is believed to have been shot in the head after being captured – an end to his rule which doesn’t sit well with Mr Plummer.

“I don’t like it but an international trial would have been messy, it would have dragged on like Slobodan Miloševic and one or two others. It would have taken three to five years before he went to trial.

“At the same time I’m not in favour of an ex-judicial killing like this.”

Despite Gaddafi’s death the management consultant thinks that the hard work to build a Western style democracy in the North-African country may prove difficult for Libyans – as the tyrant’s regime has been in place for so long.

Although stressing he “doesn’t have a crystal ball” Mr Plummer could foresee a situation similar to the one Eastern Bloc countries faced after the fall of the USSR in which Libya could disintegrate into its three ancient composite territories.

Despite the hardship the dictator’s regime inflicted on him, Mr Plummer said the death of a world leader is never an easy thing to contemplate.

“As Queen Elizabeth I put it when it was decided to kill Mary Queen of Scots – we’re talking about the execution of a queen here,” he said.

“It doesn’t come easy, it shouldn’t come easy.”

Mr Plummer has written a book about his harrowing Libyan experience, entitled A Brush With Madness, which is available now.

More information can be found at http://abrushwithmadness.co.uk

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