A British man was arrested and beaten in Saudi Arabia by religious police when they discovered he was gay.

Stephen Comiskey, a 36-year-old nurse, was threatened with beheading and thrown in a cell, the Sun reports.

He says he was tricked by religious police who sent him a text message pretending to be a friend. Homosexuality is a capital offence in Saudi Arabia.

After his arrest, he was throttled until he signed a confession in Arabic and had his passport taken away.

He spent six months in the country, unsure whether he would be killed.

Mr Comiskey, who had been working at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh, was allowed to fly home this week after diplomatic talks.

His case was the subject of a media blackout until now.

The nurse, from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, told the Sun he took care not to break the country’s strict anti-gay laws.

It has been suggested that Mr Comiskey was targeted as revenge for the case of a gay Saudi prince who was jailed in Britain last year for murdering his servant.

Saudi authorities allegedly lobbied for Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud’s sexuality to be kept secret but British judges refused the request.