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Freed ‘spy’ Matthew Hedges returns home to brave wife

Kiss: Daniela Tejada posted this selfie of her with Matthew Hedges

A BRITISH academic who was pardoned days after being jailed for life for allegedly spying in the UAE praised his ‘brave and strong’ wife on his return to the UK yesterday.

Matthew Hedges, who flew into Heathrow, was pictured kissing Daniela Tejada in a selfie she posted on Twitter. He was freed by the Gulf state on Monday following a diplomatic row.

The 31-year-old, from Exeter, thanked those who helped secure his release, including the British embassy and Foreign Office, and said Ms Tejada had told him ‘the support has been incredible’.

He added: ‘I could not have done this without Daniela, I hear her face is everywhere! She is so brave and strong. Seeing her and my family after this ordeal is the best thing that could have happened.

‘I thank you all once again, this is very surreal.’

Alongside the picture, Ms Tejada tweeted: ‘We’ve been through hell and back and would really appreciate having some space to catch up on much-needed rest.’

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: ‘Welcome home Matt Hedges. The whole country is relieved and delighted to have you home.’

The Durham University PhD student had been researching in the UAE when he was held at Dubai airport in May. The UAE maintain he was spying. During a filmed ‘confession’ he said he was an ‘MI6 captain’ — a rank that does not exist.

Kristian Ulrichsen, a friend of Mr Hedges at the Chatham House international affairs think tank, told The Times this might have been his way of signalling he was talking under duress.