Hostages arrive home after 14 months
Monday 21 September 1998
Pale, tired, but clearly jubilant Jon James and Camilla Carr arrived back in Britain late last night, flown by a leading Russian businessman who has been central to their release. Foreign Office officials admitted they still knew little about the release and had been told only yesterday morning.
Arriving back at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, last night, 443 days after being seized in the Chechen capital, Grozny, the couple said it was hard to put their feelings into words.
"When you have been captive for all that time then when you come and see the dawn and see all our family again..." said Ms Carr, 40, from Lydney, Gloucestershire.
The couple, sitting close together, said they had only been told they were to be released at the last minute
Officials believe the couple may have been moved up to 14 times by Chechen rebels, opposed to the government, during their time in captivity.
Yesterday morning they were flown to Moscow from Ingushetia, the Russian Federal Republic neighbouring Chechnya. After being met by embassy staff in Moscow the couple were flown straight on to Brize Norton still in the private jet chartered by the Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky.
While the Foreign Office and the hostages' families were adamant no ransom had been paid by themselves, it was not known whether the Russian tycoon had made a payment to secure their release.
Despite their ordeal the couple said they did not feel bitter towards their captors.
"They had no jobs and no money. They were desperate," said Ms Carr.
The couple said they had helped each other through their days in captivity.
"Each of us got us through it. Talking to each other on our down days and the love," said Mr James, 38, when asked what had kept him going.
Relatives of the couple said they were ecstatic by the release, which came three weeks after a video of the two hostages was released. Foreign Office minister Baroness Symons, who met the couple at Brize Norton, said embassy staff in Moscow had been working in Chechnya to try to secure the release since the couple were seized in July last year.
Freedom at last, page 3
- 5 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...