The statement was made by Phoebe Taylor following speculation that she may be considering entering into a dialogue to the hostage takers, her mother and father, after they seized her favourite teddy bear and an assortment of other soft toys and dolls last weekend. ‘It has never been my policy to negotiate with hostage takers’ explained Phoebe. ‘Giving in to their demands this time would only put the freedom of other toys in jeopardy, as it would only serve to encourage Mummy and Daddy to take my toys away again in the future. That’s not something I’m willing to risk.’
The actual demands made by her parents have not been made public, but are thought to include tidying her bedroom, not hitting her brother, eating her vegetables and going to bed nicely. If the demands are not met the hostage takers have threatened to take all of the captured toys to the charity shop.
A statement issued by the girl’s parents over tea yesterday reassured her that her toys were being kept in a safe place, but their exact whereabouts remain unknown. ‘I’m concerned that I haven’t been able to hear them speak in person’ said Phoebe, ‘but I have been assured by their captors that they’re safe and well. I think I heard my baby doll saying ‘mama’ somewhere in the vicinity of my parents’ bedroom this morning, so I’m trying to remain positive.’
Offers to assist in securing the toys’ release have apparently been made by other family members. Phoebe’s brother Max is reported to have offered to mount a rescue mission in exchange for all the money in her piggy bank and for her admitting that he’s the ‘bestest brother in the whole wide world’ and that ‘boys are better than girls because girls smell’, an offer that she is understood to have politely declined.
Although unwilling to meet the kidnappers’ demands it remains unclear whether Phoebe will attempt a rescue mission of her own. ‘It’s Bethany’s party at Build a Bear Workshop next week’ she explained, ‘so I might just forget about the old Fluffy and make a new one.’ Foreign Secretary William Hague said that he would be suggesting a similar approach to family members next time a British aid worker is kidnapped.