A roll-call of ruin: how hostages have fared and failed in love

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Archbishop of Canterbury's special envoy was kidnapped on a mission to negotiate the release of other British hostages including John McCarthy, in Beirut in 1986. He remained a hostage for five years and until McCarthy's release it was presumed he was dead. He finally came home in November 1991 to his wife of 29 years, Frances, and his four grown-up children.

Frances Waite is most famous for taking the opposite line from Jill Morrell during her husband's captivity; she refused to show any emotion in public, fearing that the higher the profile of her husband became, the less his chances of survival would be. She refused to greet her husband publicly on the tarmac when his plane landed, preferring the lounge instead. According to her cousin-in-law, John Waite, a Radio 4 presenter, she most feared "what would happen on his return". In fact, both partners say the marriage has strengthened but the relationship itself has changed. When he sat down to write his memoirs, she went on holiday to Australia. "That," said John Waite, "signalled that while she and Terry love and care for one another and their marriage is strong, their lives now have to develop separately."


Held in Iraq after illegally entering the country, Ride was not strictly speaking a political prisoner, and was not therefore entitled to counselling and help on his release in 1993. He had been arrested 18 months earlier while on a trip to meet friends in northern Kuwait. Once the British Government secured his release, he returned to his wife Julie and two-year-old son William and the media forgot about him. He lost his job, however, and found himself unable to get a new one. He embarked in vain on a campaign to gain financial compensation. The strain was too much for his marital relationship and he and his wife separated. In November 1994, he tried to commit suicide and allegedly attempted to burn his own house down. Now he is having appropriate psychiatric treatment and has returned to his wife.


The 42-year-old former engineer from Belfast was taken hostage in 1986 and held for four and a half years with McCarthy until 1991. Already divorced, he became famous for saying on his release that he wanted to make love to all the girls in the world.

In fact, after a hero's welcome, he became something of a recluse. In a newspaper article, he wrote, "One is pulled out from a world devoid of normal human affection to be thrust into a world which seeks totally to immerse one in powerful emotion ... the strange paradox is that on being released we who have spent so much time on our own still desperately need to be left alone", and "A released hostage may have to learn to walk again after being chained to a radiator". In 1993, two years after his release, he married the person who helped him do precisely that: Audrey Doyle, his physiotherapist and nurse, 20 years his junior.


Though not technically a hostage he has been living like one for six years since Iran issued its fatwa against him. In 1989, soon after he went into hiding, his then wife, Marianne Wiggins, left him saying that Rushdie would do "anything to save his life". Rushdie's view is that "in fact it wasn't a good marriage by then; it was right that it ended." Months later it was revealed he had a new girlfriend. In 1990, however, Ms Wiggins announced to all and sundry that the separation had been a mistake and that their marriage had survived. Simultaneously she was promoting her novel John Dollar. "I may not know where my husband is, but being near him fills a psychic need."