Hostage recounts kidnapping ordeal for first time

A BRITISH woman snatched by pirates and held for over six months after a raid that left her husband dead has spoken publicly of the ordeal for the first time.

The 57-year-old has been a social worker at Kneesworth House Hospital, near Bassingbourn, for seven years and was giving evidence via video-link at the trial of the only person charged over her abduction.

Ali Babitu Kololo, 25, faces charges of violent robbery and kidnapping at the court in Lamu, Kenya.

The hotel worker has admitted helping the raiders to the room but claims he only did so after the pirates kidnapped him.

Mrs Tebbutt, of Bishop’s Stortford, relived the moment she was taken from the remote Kiwayu Safari Village, close to the African country’s border with Somalia.

She said soon after she and her husband arrived for their two-week holiday she felt nervous about security. They were the only guests.

Recounting the night of the raid, she said: “We just got straight into bed and when we slept, we normally started off sleeping holding hands, we always did that.

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“The next thing I was aware of was David. I remember him shouting ‘What the #### is going on?’

“He looked as though he was grappling with something that was taller than him. I couldn’t see anything or anyone.

“I was then aware of someone prodding me. I looked and saw there were two men there, both had rifles, and I remember thinking ‘I wonder if this is security or something,’ because it was just so unreal.

“I got pulled out of bed. One man was holding the tops of my arms very tightly and pulling me towards the door. I remember shouting ‘What’s happening? What’s happening?’ and I could still see David and the next thing I knew I was out of the door.”

Moments later she lost sight of her husband and was dragged to a waiting boat. She claims the pirates punched her, hit her with their guns and pulled her hair when she stumbled.

She added: “We sped off. We just went straight out to sea. I remember saying ‘Where are you taking me? What’s going to happen?’ and this person was rubbing his thumb and fingers saying ‘Money, money, money’.”

Mrs Tebbutt gave no further details about her time in captivity, and did not reveal when she discovered her husband had been murdered.

She was released in March after her son, Oliver, reportedly paid a ransom.

The case continues.