Paul Urey: Body of father who died in captivity in Ukraine returned to UK

Paul Urey went to Ukraine as an aid worker  (PA)
Paul Urey went to Ukraine as an aid worker (PA)

The family of Paul Urey, who died after being allegedly tortured by pro-Russian forces for “being a British spy”, have finally had his body returned home to them in the UK.

The Warrington aid worker’s daughter Chelsea Coman, 20, raised more than £10,000 on GoFundMe to bring her father home after being told by the Foreign Office that they would need to pay their own repatriation costs.

The 45-year-old was captured by pro-Russian separatists, along with other British nationals, in April, after travelling to Donetsk.

He was rejected from the Ukraine Foreign Legion on health grounds and became an aid volunteer.

Paul Urey’s body has been flown home to his family (PA Media)
Paul Urey’s body has been flown home to his family (PA Media)

The human rights ombudsperson for the Moscow-supported leadership in Donetsk has previously said Mr Urey died in July of “chronic illnesses and stress” but his fellow prisoners claimed they were repeatedly tortured and interrogated.

His daughter announced on GoFundMe after it smashed it’s £10,000 target: “It’s finally happened! Well done and thank you everyone.

“Our dad has finally returned to the UK.

“He is currently in London. This would not have been possible without all your kind donations and compassion, you are all truly amazing people.

“All my father’s family thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Despite his family’s belief that Mr Urey’s captors had withheld his lifesaving diabetes medication, one of the Britons detained with him said he had been given insulin.

Fellow prisoner Dylan Healy, told the Mirror of his “harrowing experience” in captivity. He said: “There was no panic, I was resigned. I didn’t want to cry because it wasn’t going to change it. They shouted at you if you slept.

“They waterboarded me. They put me on a table, put a rag in my mouth and poured water in until I was choking.

“When I spoke to Paul he said this hadn’t happened to him. They wanted to know how we’d got behind the lines and why, and if we were British spies.

“There were regular beatings, every day. They had old-style police batons and my ribs were broken.

“The Russians have a love of Tasering, they had these long prongs which they put on your skin. Paul had been Tasered, he said it was easier than he thought it would be.”

At the time of his death Russian official, Natalya Nikonorov, blamed “acute coronary insufficiency aggravated by pulmonary and brain edema”.

An FCDO spokesperson said: “The FCDO is unfortunately not able to pay for the repatriation of British nationals who have died overseas.”