Pilot released from African jail hell

editorial image

A Malton pilot, who had been facing the death penalty after discovering a jungle massacre has been freed from his African jail.

However, 24-year-old David Simpson, from Gillamoor, has just been moved to a compound and has not been formally released.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth office said the case had not been formally concluded, but it was hoped that the situation would change “soon”.

It means Mr Simpson is still not free to travel back home after his “terrifying” four month ordeal in the Central African Republic.

He had been detained in the rat-infested jail in the capital Bangui without charge after voluntarily reporting the 18 murders in March, which he stumbled upon while working as a pilot for the Swedish-owned safari company, The Central African Wildlife Adventures.

The former pupil of Lady Lumley’s School, in Pickering, had seen his health deteriorate over the period, and had suffered from Malaria.

He was being held in a cramped cell with dozens of other prisoners on suspicion of the crimes.

If he had been tried and convicted, he could have faced execution via the firing squad.

He had been held on suspicion of using black magic to commit the murders, which observers have linked to warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

Kony gained international notoriety earlier this year when a video depicting his alleged crimes became a viral sensation on the internet, and he is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against Humanity.

Mr Simpson had been temporarily freed earlier this month, when a machete-wielding mob tore through the jail.

He was put under temporary house arrest at his companies compound for a few days, before being returned to the jail.

More to follow.