ONE OF the Yemen kidnap victims was critically ill in hospital last night after being told that her husband was one of four hostages killed by Islamic extremists. Claire Marston, 43, an accountancy lecturer at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, was said to be conscious but “in a very bad way” after emergency surgery in Aden. Her husband, Peter Rowe, 60, a popular and “maverick” maths lecturer at Durham University, was one of three Britons shot dead in a bungled rescue attempt on Tuesday. The other victim was an Australian.
After waking from surgery for a shoulder wound at Al-Jamhouriya hospital, Ms Marston was told her husband was dead.
David Pearce, one of the British diplomats looking after the survivors, said she was “with it” and knew her husband was among those who died.But he added: “She is in a very bad way.” He said she and the other injured hostage, an American woman shot in the pelvis, were “as well as can be expected. They are awake and receiving excellent attention”.Many of the victims and survivors were teachers and academics. The two other dead Britons were named as Ruth Williamson, 34, from Edinburgh, and Margaret Whitehouse, a 52-year-old teacher from Hook, Hampshire.The other survivors, who were unhurt, were named as Gill Dorey, Patricia Morris, Sue Mattocks, a teacher, Lawrence Whitehouse – a lecturer and the husband of Mrs Whitehouse – Professor Eric Firkins, a chemistry lecturer, David Holmes and Brian Smith, a postal worker. They were being cared for at the Movenpick Hotel in Aden while preparations were made for their return to Britain tomorrow.Colleagues of Dr Rowe spoke of an unorthodox lecturer who had endeared himself to generations of students with his long hair, free spirit and lust for travel.
He and Dr Marston had met when she was in one of his tutorial groups and they married shortly after she had finished her studies in the 1970s.Her brother in law, Stephen Sunnocks, of Seal, Kent, was being kept up to date on her condition by the Foreign Office. Describing her condition as “critical”, he said: “She is very strong, very capable. I am sure she will make it.”Dr Rowe’s colleagues at Durham described him as a “maverick” with a passion for particle physics Born in Canada, he moved to Britain in the 1960s. David Fairlie, professor of applied mathematics, said Dr Rowe had spent two years teaching maths in Ghana before joining the university in 1964.”He had an indomitable sense of adventure,” said Professor Fairlie. “Eccentric would be too strong a word but he did his own thing He was idiosyncratic He loved travel. He would have known about the dangers of Yemen, but he had a fatalistic approach to life.”Mrs Whitehouse was a teacher at Hook Primary School. Margery George, a colleague, said: “Margaret was a very dedicated, very hard working teacher who had the children’s interests foremost in her mind.