A British woman snatched by pirates from an east African island and held hostage for more than six months has given evidence about her ordeal.
Judith Tebbutt, whose husband was murdered after a gang of intruders stormed their beachfront resort, spoke for the first time in detail about her kidnap during the trial of a man charged over the attack.
The social worker, 57, appeared in a Kenyan court via video link from the UK and relived the moment she was taken from the remote Kiwayu safari village, close to the African country’s border with Somalia.
Tebbutt had arrived at the safari village with her husband, David, 58, after visiting the Masai Mara game reserve last September. They were the resort’s only guests.
It was reported that the Briton told the court she woke on the night of the raid to find several intruders armed with rifles inside the grass-woven hut where she was sleeping.
Tebbutt, from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, revealed she heard her husband shouting and saw him grappling with a member of the gang as she was dragged from the room, it was said.
She was then forced to run along the beach and hit on the back of the head with a rifle before being bundled into a boat, according to reports from the trial of the Kenyan national Ali Babitu Kololo, 25 – the only man who has been charged in connection with the attack.
Tebbutt told the hearing in Lamu she immediately felt nervous about security after arriving at the beach resort for the two-week stay and was uneasy that she and her husband were the only guests.
She also revealed that shortly after being driven away on the boat her captors revealed they were after money – raising her hopes that she would be freed.
However, the former hostage dealt a potential blow to the prosecution’s case after reportedly telling the court she had never seen Kololo before.
In video footage of the hearing obtained by ITV, Tebbutt said: “I have never seen this man before. He was not one of the men who took me out of the banda [beach cottage], who were present on the boat or held me during my time in captivity.”
Kololo, who was sacked from his job at the Kiwayu safari village several months before the attack, denies charges of robbery with violence and kidnapping with intention to murder.
Tebbutt, from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, was reunited with her son Oliver and flown back to Britain in March following her release.
It was reported that her family paid a ransom of £800,000 to free her.
She revealed after her release that she did not know the gang had killed her husband for two weeks after she was kidnapped.