Scots Ex-Soldier Freed From Indian Jail

28 November 2017, 10:12 | Updated: 28 November 2017, 10:14

Billy Irving & Yvonne McHugh

Six former British soldiers have been released from an Indian prison four years after they were charged with weapons offences.

The so-called Chennai Six, who had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, won an appeal against their convictions on Monday.

They were jailed in October 2013 after being charged with smuggling weapons and ammunition.

Yvonne McHugh, partner of Billy Irving from Argyll and Bute, said the men had been released on Tuesday.

Ms McHugh said: "They were released about two hours ago and are now at the British Embassy with consular staff.

"They will just go to a hotel in Chennai and will be able to sleep in a bed and have a proper shower for the first time in about two years."

The men are Mr Irving, 37, from Argyll and Bute, Nick Dunn, 31 from Northumberland, John Armstrong, 30, of Wigton, Cumbria, Nicholas Simpson, 47, of Catterick, North Yorkshire, Ray Tindall, 42, of Chester, and Paul Towers, 54, of Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

They could now face a wait of possibly several weeks before documentation comes through which will allow them to return to the UK.

Once Mr Irving was freed, he was able to speak to Ms McHugh on the embassy's phone and update her on their situation.

Ms McHugh said: "Billy called straight away, he couldn't quite believe it had happened.

"He's just over the moon and didn't think they would be released. He took everything that was said with a pinch of salt and didn't believe it.

"We are hoping they could be home in two weeks. If it's less than that it will be a miracle."