The holiday in paradise that led to hell in captivity

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Judith Tebbutt after her release from captivity in Somalia Credit: ITV News
Judith Tebbutt after her release from captivity in Somalia Photo: ITV News

Even for well-travelled tourists like the Tebbutts, who had seen so much of the world, it would have been difficult not to be stunned by the beauty of Kiwayu; it is an exclusive resort which would fit almost anyone’s idea of what ‘paradise’ is.

Judith Tebbutt arrived with her husband, David, after several days touring Kenya. Although lawless Somalia is 30 miles north, Kiwayu appeared to be safe. The resort, used by royalty and celebrities, offers seclusion under the watchful eyes of armed guards. And despite the well-known threat of piracy, kidnappings like this one, on land, were rare.

David and Judith had the beach to themselves on the night they arrived. The windows of their smart hut faced out onto the ocean. The sound of the waves was, no doubt, part of the appeal of the tropical experience.

But it must have felt like such a lonely place that night as a gang arrived on boats and raced onto the beach.

Around half a dozen men, maybe pirates – maybe bandits, had used information gathered from local people. They knew that western tourists were staying at the resort on their own.

They killed David and kidnapped Judith, taking her to Somalia. For the six months that she was held, her captors maintained contact with the outside world.

But Mrs Tebbutt had to mourn while in captivity. Although she now has her freedom, she returns to Britain without her husband.

Still of Judith Tebbutt while she was in captivity in Somalia
Still of Judith Tebbutt while she was in captivity in Somalia Credit: ITV News