Release hopes for pilot who is captured in African prison

David Simpson who is being held captive in the Central African Republic
David Simpson who is being held captive in the Central African Republic

A pilot from North Yorkshire who has been in an African jail for months is hoping he will be released soon.

Before his arrest David Simpson, whose family comes from Gillamoor in Ryedale, had been earning a living working for a swedish-owned safari company - the Central African Wilflide Adventures - as a pilot.

Earlier this year he stumbled upon a massacre, which observers say looks like the work of the rebel Lord Resistance Army Resistance Army.

However when Mr Simpson reported it to the authorities it was he who ended up in jail accused of the mass murders.

Last week he was temporarily free after rioters broke into the prison in the Central African Republic.

He is reported to have had to flee for his life as he thought he might be lynched by the mob because he is a white man.

But his freedom was short lived as he was later picked up at his Swedish employer’s house and thrown back into prison where he was told his fate would be known in a matter of days.

Reports state that Mr Simpson is having to live in a cell where rats swarm about at night which he fends off with a wooden bat.

He is said to be fearful of eating any food provided to him by the authorities because of the problems associated with malaria.

Mr Simpson and other employees came across the massacre while clearing a path for vehicles through the jungle.

“It was a terrible and disturbing sight,” he is reported to have said.

Reports suggest that he may have been falsely accused of the murders because of a struggle between families of the dead men wanting compensation and corrupt officials seeing him as a scapegoat.

It is understood that the family of the Swedish boss has been told that those who have been imprisoned could be set free if a sum of £800,000 was paid.

Mr Simpson, 24, how is a former pupil of Lady Lumley’s School, has now been detained for more than four months. He is said to have told contacts he just wants to get home to his family’s pheasant farm on the North York Moors and hug his family.