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EDITIONS
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 07:50 GMT
First morning home for kidnap victim
Peter Shaw and his new grandson Ioan
Peter Shaw holds his grandson, Ioan, for the first time
Kidnap victim Peter Shaw is waking up in his own bed for the first time in five months on Friday morning.

The businessman arrived back at his home in Cowbridge, south Wales, late on Thursday after what he has called the miracle of his escape from captors in Georgia who were demanding a $2m ransom.

Mr Shaw has revealed how he was kept in a damp hole in the ground - tethered by the neck - with just two coats as bedclothes after he was snatched by gunmen in June.

Peter Shaw
Mr Shaw spoke on Georgian TV of his ordeal

And he believed he was being taken away for execution when he seized his chance to make the brave dash for freedom which saved his life.

Speaking at a news conference at Heathrow Airport minutes after touching down in the UK, the the 57-year-old banking expert said the only human contact he experienced during his isolation were two hands thrust into the hole twice a day bearing some food and water.

He said: "When I was first kidnapped I was moved around from place to place.

"I was told nothing except on the first day of my captivity when I was told that I had been kidnapped for a ransom demand of $2m. Then I heard nothing."


To survive, I prayed and thought about my family back home in Wales

Peter Shaw

"I knew the UK Government and EEC would not pay - they tried to force me to write to my family to ask for $1m.

"I knew they could not afford it and I knew I would be kept in the hole in the ground.

"To survive, I prayed and thought about my family back home in Wales."

Mr Shaw was met at Heathrow by his former wife Mair and other family members - including his three-month-old grandson Ioan, born while he was held in Georgia.

But his chance for freedom came on Wednesday when his kidnappers decide to move him from his prison.

"I was driven for 20 minutes while masked and forced to walk up a mountain with four guards - I thought I was going to be shot.

"Then a miracle happened.

"It was dark and I was able to jump into the gorse. The men fired guns and one of them died.

Peter Shaw
Touchdown: Mr Shaw lands back in the UK

I ran away and saw car headlights.

"I hadn't walked for three months and was stumbling down a lane when I heard Georgian voices."

"I shouted "I am Peter Shaw" at them.

"They were part of the Georgian Army and I realised I was in the Pankisi George.

"I had been conned into thinking that I was being kept in Azerbaijan by my captors but then I was safe."

Mr Shaw, who is from Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan, had lived in Georgia for six years.


No-one could doubt that he has showed the most tremendous courage and fortitude throughout those long months

First Minister Rhodri Morgan

He had been working as a financial adviser for Agrobiznesbank and had been due to return back to Wales just days after he was kidnapped.

His release after months of intense diplomatic efforts has been applauded by politicians across Wales.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "No-one could doubt that he has showed the most tremendous courage and fortitude throughout those long months and in the truly terrifying final moments at the end of his captivity."

'Brilliant outcome'

Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, described Mr Shaw, as "a very brave man".

In his former job as Foreign Office Minister, Mr Hain had been directly involved in the diplomatic moves during the summer to try to secure the businessman's release.

"This is a brilliant outcome which seems to have been brought about by the actions of Georgian troops and by Mr Shaw's bravery in escaping from his captors," said Mr Hain.

"I hope Mr Shaw recovers quickly from his ordeal and that he resumes a normal life as soon as possible."

Mr Shaw's kidnap was the top issue on the agenda at a recent meeting between Georgia's President Shevardnadze and the British Ambassador, Deborah Barnes Jones.

The European Union had earlier warned Georgia that it may be forced to suspend aid unless the security situation for foreign aid-workers and investors improves.

The EU ultimatum came less than six months after German citizen Gunther Beuchel, a member of the European Union delegation to Tbilisi, was found dead.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Wyre Davies
"Peter Shaw knows he is lucky to be alive"
Kidnap victim Peter Shaw
"I was tethered by the neck"
Peter Shaw's ex-wife, Mair
"It's what we have been waiting for for such a long time"

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