Overwhelmed: Hostage’s mother collapses after emotional plea

THE Irish-born mother of hostage Kenneth Bigley collapsed and was taken to hospital just hours after making an emotional appeal for her son’s release last night.

“Would you please help my son? He is only a working man who wants to support his family,” Elizabeth Bigley said in an address to the militants who have been holding her son for more than a week. “Please show mercy to Ken and send him home to me alive.”

The 86-year-old, originally from Ticknock, near Stepaside in Dublin, made the televised appeal from a police station in Liverpool. But just after 8pm last night she was taken to hospital.

Dr Mashood Siddiqi, a consultant at Aintree University Hospital, said she was under a lot of stress but coping well.

Mr Bigley’s brother, Paul, earlier appealed to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to use his diplomatic contacts to try to secure his brother’s release.

“He’s had experiences like this before, maybe he has other avenues that other people don’t have to try and bring this thing to a pleasant conclusion,” he said.

British citizen Ken Bigley is entitled to an Irish passport. The 62-year-old was captured by Islamic militants in Iraq last week, along with two Americans who have subsequently been beheaded. An internet broadcast of him pleading for his life has been released.

The Taoiseach said the situation facing the Bigley family is deeply disturbing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. I am sure that the British authorities are doing everything in their power to secure the release of Mr Bigley. It is my sincere hope that those efforts are successful,” he said.

Former presidential hopeful Michael D Higgins last night pleaded with the kidnappers to spare Mr Bigley’s life, during an interview with the Al Jazeera television station.

“I said on Al Jazeera that nothing could be solved by the taking of his life and that the Irish had not supported the war in Iraq.”

The Labour TD, who has visited the country three times as an international monitor, said he is aware the militant group has issues about Iraqi women being held in prison.

He said that he was happy to help out if an international group is needed to establish how many female detainees there are.

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