Ordeal continues for pirate hostage from Birkenhead

A MERSEYSIDE father is now the sole captive of a group of Nigerian pirates after the release of his fellow hostage.

Matthew Maguire, 34, from Birkenhead, was snatched on his way to work on an oil rig seven months ago.

His captors last night released fellow Briton Barry Hughes because of his age and health.

They failed to make clear their plans for Mr Maguire.

Mr Hughes was handed over to military officials in Nigeria’s southern oil region.

The men were among 27 oil workers on a boat hijacked in the Niger Delta last September.

Mr Hughes's brother, Simon, said he had spoken to his sibling on the telephone last night.

He said: “His spirits are quite high.”

Mr Hughes said his brother had told him that he had been kept with Mr Maguire, whom he described as being in a “fit and healthy” condition.

Mr Maguire lives with his partner Emma Dean and children Ellie, 10, Charlie, eight, and two-year-old Matthew, in Birkenhead.