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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Shot BBC reporter returns to work
Frank Gardner
Frank Gardner says public support has been important to him
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner has said it is good to be back at work, 10 months after he was shot by militants in Saudi Arabia.

He was seriously injured in the attack in Riyadh last June. His colleague, cameraman Simon Cumbers, was killed.

Shot six times at point blank range, he now uses a wheelchair as one of the bullets severed spinal nerves.

He said he wanted to keep covering the "incredibly important" issue of security.

"You won't catch me padding around the back streets of Riyadh any more that's for sure, but I think there is a need to still explain the factors behind security and to analyse when we get these threats," he said.

Twelve operations

He said he felt that the UK faced a "genuine threat" of a terror attack and that good security and detective work had helped prevent one.

Gardner and Mr Cumbers, 36, were attacked, apparently from a jeep, in a southern suburb of the city as they filmed the house of an al-Qaeda militant.

Gardner said he would have died within two hours had it not been for an expert team from the King Faisal Specialist Hospital.

After being treated in the Saudi hospital, he returned to a hospital in the UK last July.

He had 12 operations and spent eight months in hospital.

"I'm mentally fine, they didn't get to my head," he said. "But physically my circumstances are very changed."

I have had a good innings in that I've climbed volcanoes, and I've run marathons and I have done 100km endurance races

I have had a good innings in that I've climbed volcanoes, and I've run marathons and I have done 100km endurance races
Frank Gardner
He was shot at point blank range. "It was an execution, it was four feet away, " he said. "And they hit bullets into the centre of the target, as it were, into my abdomen".

He said he will be able to walk very slowly, using callipers or a walking frame.

"But I don't think I will be going on Come Dancing, somehow," he added.

Gardner added that he was "very relieved" to have retained the mobility he has done.

"I have seen plenty of people in the spinal unit having to come to terms with not using their arms or anything," he said.

He added: "I have had a good innings in that I've climbed volcanoes, and I've run marathons and I have done 100km endurance races, you know, I have had a pretty good time on my legs."

Gardner, who still has two bullets buried in deep body tissue, added that the attack was "stupid and senseless".

Family support

He has been helped by support from his family, colleagues and the public.

"There has been a lot to keep me going, my family first and foremost, which is the main thing I hung on for," he said.

He added: "And of course knowing I could come back to my job has been a really nice thing."

"I have had so much support, not just from people here at the BBC but from listeners and viewers and that's fantastic."

The correspondent said he had received letters from all over the world.

"I have had wonderful letters from Saudi Arabia, people saying that as soon as they heard what had happened they rushed to Mecca to pray for me," he added.

Gardner is also writing a book about his experiences.

The correspondent said his first day back at work was getting much media interest.

"I fear all the reporting I'm going to do today is about me, " he said. "It is a journalist's dream, actually, to talk about themselves for ever."

Frank Gardner speaks about life after the shooting

Shot BBC man home for Christmas
07 Dec 04 |  About BBC News
Profile: Frank Gardner
07 Jun 04 |  UK


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