Terry Waite has enjoyed an emotional reunion with the radiator to which he was chained for over four long years. ‘I’ve dreamt about this moment for a long time,’ he told waiting reporters at Heathrow Airport’s Cargo Hangar 3.
Mr. Waite was taken hostage by Islamic Jihad in 1987 and passed a torrid 1,763 days in captivity. Much of his time was spent chained to a radiator under armed guard. Later, if Mr. Waite promised not to fiddle with the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV), he was allowed some degree of privacy as he endured a period of solitary confinement.
It was during this period that Mr. Waite sought comfort from the Chinese-made Hebei cast-iron radiator in traditional white enamel finish. ‘Although the radiator was restraining me, its warmth was very comforting. Though the guards still wouldn’t let me turn it right up because they were worried about the gas bill.’
Mr. Waite recalled how a work experience terrorist guard nearly allowed him to escape. ‘They always used to handcuff me to the mounting bracket but this idiot handcuffed me to the inlet pipe! It was a 15mm compression joint which a chap of my size would have had no problem pulling apart! I did think about doing it but it would have made a nasty mess and I dread to think what the guards would have said if they caught me,’ Mr. Waite added ruefully.
Mr Waite described one particularly harrowing moment. ‘I was woken up by a guard carrying an old tea towel. My time’s up I thought. They’ll have put chloroform on it to knock me out so that they could silently do away with me’. Terry continued with his dramatic account. ‘In fact there was an air lock in the central heating system so he actually came in to bleed my radiator. It was much more efficient after that’.
The radiator was discovered by former terrorist guard Abu Libdeh, who recognised the large number of scratches and contacted the former emissary via the popular Middle Eastern website ‘Hostages Reunited’. Mr Waite is having the radiator installed in the bedroom of his flat in Cambridge and arranged for a plumber to fit it last Wednesday, although unfortunately he never turned up. ‘I sat in on my own all day. Just me and the radiator. I wish he hadn’t rung at tea time to say he couldn’t make it. It sort of spoiled the magic.’
See also Sky to launch UK Hostage Channel