Kidnapped banker thanks 'inept' captors for his freedom

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The kidnapped banker Peter Shaw arrived back in Britain from Georgia last night, crediting the "ineptitude" of his captors rather than the efficiency of government forces for his freedom.

Mr Shaw, 57,spent almost five months chained by the neck in an unlit, wet underground cell measuring just 5ft by 9ft. The former Midland Bank manager was working as a consultant under a European Union development programme in the volatile former Soviet state. He was kidnapped from outside his Tbilisi home by an armed gang on 18 June – the day before he was due to leave the country.

Last night, he explained how the incident began on Wednesday when he was masked and taken into the mountains by his kidnappers. "Two guys held me by the arms and two guys were behind me. I knew, I thought, I was going to be shot. I heard one of the guys behind me take his rifle, his machine-gun, off his shoulder and pull the bolts. So I thought 'This is for me'. So I thought 'Well I'm not going to stand here ... so I jumped into the gorse bushes at the side of the lane and the next thing, they fired guns."

He hid in the bushes for half an hour before walking 400 metres and coming across Georgian soldiers, who took him to safety.

He credited the "ineptitude of the Georgian marksmanship" for his safe escape. In the dark surroundings, the gunmen shot one of their own gang instead of their hostage.

Asked how he got through the days in captivity, he said: "You arrive at each day and think of your family. You think of your life, you think through your childhood."

Last night Mr Shaw– surrounded by his Georgian girlfriend Deanna Hrena, his mother, ex-wife and children in Creigiau, South Wales – said he would settle back in Cowbridge, South Wales.