Quin has no fear of abductor

MARY QUIN: Confronted Abu Hamza outside his London mosque, where she recorded the conversation.
MARY QUIN: Confronted Abu Hamza outside his London mosque, where she recorded the conversation.

Palmerston North-born woman Dr Mary Quin says she has no fear of the man behind her kidnapping, despite having sat in the same courtroom as him.

Quin, now the chief executive of Callaghan Innovation, made the revelation in an interview with TV One's Q+A programme which aired yesterday.

Earlier this year she was the star prosecution witness at the trial of radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza, who was found guilty of a string of terrorism charges stemming from his involvement in the kidnapping of Quin and 15 tourists in Yemen in 1998.

Quin managed to escape during a gun battle her captors had with Yemeni government troops, after wrestling an AK-47 off one of the men holding her prisoner.

But it instilled her with the passion to hunt down who was responsible, and she managed to secure an interview with Hamza at a British mosque in 2000.

The recording of that interview, initially used for a book she wrote on her ordeal, was a key piece of evidence in Hamza's trial this year.

Quin told Q+A she was not afraid of Hamza during the trial.

"I wasn't really looking directly at him during the testimony, and really you are concentrating on the questions you are being asked rather than who else is in the courtroom.

"It's such a different environment, and I don't think I've ever felt afraid of him - not even when I met with him in his office.

"Even knowing the full extent of things he has been involved in, no, I don't feel that kind of sense of being afraid of him personally.

"It's more of what what he stands for that has me concerned."

She told Q+A she felt "bulletproof" immediately after her kidnapping, but that feeling had since subsided.

But it had instilled her with the willingness to take more risks in life, including in her career.

"I realise at this point I could be dead, but for the luck of where I was standing, so anything is a benefit - a blessing - at this point."

The rest of the interview covered her role with Callaghan Innovation.

Manawatu Standard