A 12-year-old boy stranded in Dubai by an extreme fear of flying has finally arrived back in the UK.

Joe Thompson’s family spent £40,000 on cancelled flights, phobia therapy and accommodation during their unexpected stay.

Joe’s family had planned to move to Somerset but, despite multiple attempts to get him there, Joe’s body literally “locked down” every time he went near the airport.

His father said that his son’s panic attacks had become worse and they had decided to abandon attempts to return him to the UK for the time being.

But the schoolboy was finally coached through his fear with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy – and he arrived back at Heathrow this week, safe and sound.

Joe’s father said: “I was absolutely amazed when Joe woke up on the plane… looked at me and smiled. And I realised it was all over.”

BBC News 08/10/13