Care manager's relief at being home

By Ted JeoryA CARE home manager has arrived back in Britain after a four-month Caribbean prison nightmare and is today preparing to move her life forward.

By Ted Jeory

A CARE home manager has arrived back in Britain after a four-month Caribbean prison nightmare and is today preparing to move her life forward.

Marianne Telfer, 28, from Ardleigh, said she had been “overwhelmed” by the media scrum that greeted her arrival at Gatwick Airport yesterday morning, but felt it was now time for a period of rest and reflection.

One of the first things she will do is contact the grieving family of Richard Flack, her boyfriend who died after swallowing condoms filled with cocaine on the last day of their holiday in the Dominican Republic in February.

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She had tried desperately to revive the 34-year-old recovering heroin addict, from Colchester, as he lay dying in their hotel room, but there was nothing she could have done.

Miss Telfer said she did not know of his plot to smuggle the class A drugs back to Britain and stressed she bore no animosity or bitterness towards him for it.

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“He paid the ultimate price - it was a complete tragedy. I will talk to his family - I have been thinking about them,” she said yesterday.

There were emotional scenes at Gatwick Airport yesterday as, seconds after spotting her sister, Catherine, 31, and brother, Richard, 34, Miss Telfer was engulfed by a media scrum desperate to hear her first words back in Britain.

After tears and kisses, she said: “I am ecstatic and overjoyed to be back. I want to thank everyone who has helped me - my mum, who has been there for four months, my sister and dad, who have been there a couple of times, and all my friends for their support.

“The reason why I stayed there for four months was because of the Dominican Republic's justice system.

“But at one point they apologised about how it was dealt with and how it shouldn't have gone so far.”

Asked what she did to keep going, Miss Telfer replied: “I had a mobile which I was allowed to use sometimes and my mum visited twice a week which I always looked forward to. I also wrote a lot and listened to music.”

For her father Roger, a Colchester Institute economics lecturer, it was also a proud moment. “We are a family again. This is the start of normal life once more,” he said.

“Marianne has been so brave. Her lawyer said how composed she was in court, but underneath it all she must have been terrified.

“But it's important not to forget that underneath it all she has lost Richard, which is also a great tragedy for him and his family.”

Mr Telfer said the family's goal was now to bring their lives back to normality as soon as they could.

“For the next couple of days we shall have some quiet family time together, but after that it will take Marianne some weeks to get over this and it will be our job to help her through that,” he added.

Miss Telfer's mother, Sheila, flew to be with her daughter within two days of Mr Flack's death and stayed on the island throughout the ordeal, firmly declining “offers” to help free her daughter.

Mrs Telfer, a professional counsellor, said: “It's over now. It's been quite an experience - and one that we shall never forget. I had to drop everything to get out there, but I'm now desperate to get back to work.”

Catherine Telfer, who was celebrating her 31st birthday yesterday, added: “I can't have wished for a better present.”

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