Daily Mirror: Fellow captive Faye Turney was instrumental in getting Arthur Batchelor through their terrifying 13-day kidnap ordeal, the 20-year-old said yesterday. The Daily Mirror
BRAVE COLLEAGUE GOT ME THROUGH MY KIDNAP HORROR
EXCLUSIVE: By Chris Hughes, Security Correspondent And Robert Stansfield
FELLOW captive Faye Turney was instrumental in getting Arthur Batchelor through their terrifying 13-day kidnap ordeal, the 20-year-old said yesterday.
Arthur said his brave colleague, nicknamed Topsy, risked beatings from their cynical guards for whispering reassurances to him as he sat scared stiff and blindfolded on a boat after they were snatched at sea.
And he revealed that the hardest part of his nightmare in Tehran was when he was separated from mum-of-one Faye – who he said was like a big sister to him – and chucked into solitary confinement. Speaking of the day they were captured, able seaman Arthur said: “We were blindfolded on the long journey back to land and my whole body was tense…not knowing whether to expect a kick or a punch. It was horribly quiet.
“Topsy kept on whispering to make sure I was okay, she just reassured me that we were all together.
“It didn’t matter to me if we lived or died, as long as we did it as a team.
“The guards got really aggressive whenever they heard us communicating. Topsy really put her neck on the line to make sure I was holding up.”
That was the last time Arthur saw Faye for six days as they were both put in solitary. Guards tried to make Faye crack by cruelly telling her she was the last of the 15 being held captive.
But, speaking of the moment they were reunited, he told how he wept and begged the 26-year-old for a hug. Arthur said: “I missed Topsy most of all. I really love her, as amumand a big sister. Not seeing her and not knowing if she was safe was one of the hardest parts of the whole thing.
“Then on the sixth day, when I was just about giving up hope, I was pulled from my bed in the early hours of the morning.
“They led me down a corridor and into a room, where I saw Topsy in a corner.
“I can’t describe how that felt…just every emotion rolled into one. I ran up to her, threw my arms round her and cried like a baby.
“When I’d calmed down, she asked, ‘Do you need another hug, a mother hug?’ and I said, ‘damn right’. She was just as pleased to see me because they’d told her I’d been sent home.
“Topsy said she’d always be there for me, to protect me and look after me.
“We asked to be put together in a cell, but the guards wouldn’t have it. She had to stay on her own with a female minder.” Arthur, of Plymouth, told how the group were given a stark choice – seven years in jail or seven days’ captivity if they co-operated with Iran.
He said: “All I wanted was to get back to my family but I didn’t want to let the side down by agreeing with the Iranians.
“I talked it through with Topsy and she wanted to get back to her husband Adam and daughter Molly. As the only woman, she’d been treated very badly and feared for her life as much as the rest of us. The thought of seeing her family again kept her going.
“And being with her gave me the boost that I needed.” Arthur told of the moment he and his comrades were paraded on TV and forced to confess they had strayed into Iranian waters.
He said: “A guard was saying, ‘smile, smile, smile for camera’. We felt it would help if we obliged.
“We were happy to see each other for the first time. But the genuine smiles lasted just minutes.”
Arthur met Faye when he joined HMS Cornwall in January last year.
He said: “I look young, so I guess she wanted to look after me. She’s a great woman, kind, generous, funny. She’d do anything for anyone. I’ve loads of respect for her as she’s my senior but also a massive amount of love for her as my friend.
“She would always talk to us about her husband, who she also called Topsy, and Molly.
“She’d been interviewed by the BBC the day before our capture and was desperate to phone home to tell Molly mum was going to be on the telly.”
Arthur is now planning a wild night out with his best friend Kate Wills. The 19-year-old is on holiday and missed his emotional return.
He said: “I was gutted to find out she was away, but it means it will be even more special when we do get together. I’m embarrassed to admit that drinking’s what we do best.”
In last week’s Mirror, Kate described Arthur as her “Tarzan”. But the modest sailor said: “I’m not quite king of the jungle. There are lots more braver people. We had a giggle about it. I suppose she’ll expect me to live up to the nickname now.”
IN a bizarre move Iran last night released more video footage of the captured British sailors. It showed them in tracksuits playing chess and table tennis and watching a football game on televison.