Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Captive is based on this inspiring true story...

In March 2005, Ashley Smith made headlines around the globe when she talked her way out of the

hands of Brian Nichols, after he took her hostage for seven hours in her home.

Like her captor, Ashley experienced self-destructive darkness and distress – in her case, after she

watched her first husband being murdered. In her despair she turned to drugs. ‘Instead of… facing my feelings,’ she says, ‘I took drugs so I didn’t have to feel.’ As a result, she lost custody of her

then three-year-old daughter and was jailed several times for drink-driving, shoplifting and drugs.

‘I had been there at the bottom with no hope. Feeling dead in my heart, dead in my spirit, just dead.’

Ashley Smith

Yet even during her most desolate times, she yearned for something better, seeking a new life.

Then Brian Nichols took her hostage. He was facing trial for rape at the Fulton County courthouse

in Atlanta, Georgia, but he had overcome his guard and grabbed her gun. He then killed the judge

and other court officials before escaping on foot.

Through the long dark hours of the night, while Brian held Ashley hostage, she read to him excerpts

from The Purpose Driven Life and The Bible, which provided a message of hope for two broken


‘The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose’.
The Purpose Driven Life

When Brian pointed his gun to her head, Ashley cried out, ‘My name is Ashley Smith, I’m a mother.’

Despite her weaknesses and failings, she knew that her life had purpose and meaning because she
was a mum. As they talked together, Brian revealed that he also had a child, whom he had not yet
seen. ‘I’m never going to be able to raise him’, he said. ‘I’m going to prison for the rest of my life.’
As the night wore on, Brian told his story to Ashley. He spoke of his seven-year relationship with a
girlfriend. He told of his sense of betrayal when she started a relationship with another man, and
how she then accused him of rape – the charge he was facing in court that day. 
As an unusual bond developed between these two parents, both separated from their child, Brian
asked her to read to him from the book on her table. ‘If you want to know why you were placed on
this planet you must begin with God,’ she read from The Purpose Driven Life. ‘He shaped you for a
purpose, and he expects you to make the most of what you have been given.’........

The Purpose Driven Life contains quotations from The Bible, which Ashley also read to Brian
through her night of captivity. She encouraged him to see that it was possible for his life to be
turned around. She said to him, ‘One thing that helps me sometimes is this verse, “I can do all
things through Christ who strengthens me”.’.........

Reflecting back on the events of that night, Ashley says, ‘God had something for me to do, and
I was doing it. I was telling Brian what he needed to hear, trying to help him quit hurting people
and turn himself in.’

If God only used perfect people, nothing would get done because
none of us are perfect.’    (Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life)