Primrose Hill BBC presenter Petroc Trelawny tells of time in Zimbabwe prison cell

A Radio 3 presenter arrested in Zimbabwe for being in the country illegally has revealed he was treated with “nothing but kindness” during his incarceration.

Primrose Hill resident Petroc Trelawny, was arrested at a music festival he was presenting for not having a work permit – despite having agreed to compere the event for free.

He was taken to a police station, where he had to share a 14ft by 9ft cell with up to 20 other people.

He told BBC Radio 4: “As soon as I went in, I realised it was going to be very uncomfortable but there was nothing to be frightened of.”

He said the other inmates were “warm and welcoming” and taught him how to sleep in such a small space, which meant that when one person moved everyone had to follow.


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While in the tiny cell the BBC presenter fell and injured himself.

“I was given the space right at the far end of the cell and had gone to peer out at the grill,” he said. “On the way back, I tripped over one of the many people there.

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“I instinctively put my arm out to stop the fall and heard the sound of what I thought was breaking bone.”

He was transferred him to hospital, where he said he was treated by the “most amazing” nurses despite the hospital’s lack of drugs.

“I’m left with an extraordinary realisation of the goodness of humanity,” he said.

All charges against the music presenter, who was in Zimbabwe in a personal capacity, were dropped and he left the country last Friday (June 1).

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