Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Teddy' Teacher Faces 40 Lashes; Naming Bear Mohammed 'An Insult'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Teddy' Teacher Faces 40 Lashes; Naming Bear Mohammed 'An Insult'

Article excerpt

A BRITISH teacher facing 40 lashes if she is convicted of blasphemy over a teddy named Mohammed had told friends how much she was loving her new life in Sudan.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was spending her third day in a Khartoum jail cell today after being arrested on suspicion of insulting Islam's prophet - by allowing her seven- year-old pupils to give the teddy the same name.

Former colleague Gill Langworthy said today: "I saw her in July and had farewell drinks.

"Since then we have been in email contact at least once a week. Last week she sent one with pictures of her sitting on a camel and a beach, loving it, she felt so welcomed and loved teaching the children."

Miss Langworthy, who taught with Ms Gibbons at Garston Primary School in Liverpool, said teaching abroad had always been her friend's dream.

But she fears for her safety and thinks the experience will have damaged her deeply.

Miss Langworthy, an assistant headteacher, said her friend had endured a tough few years with the end of her marriage and several bereavements. …

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