Home news Chennai Six: Britons 'eager to return to families'

Chennai Six: Britons 'eager to return to families'

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Six British former soldiers have told how they are looking forward to seeing their families after being held in India for more than four years.

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.

In a joint statement they thanked family, friends and UK consular staff.

In a separate video message, Nick Dunn from Northumberland said he wanted to “move on” and start “a new life”.

The Chennai Six: What is their story?

Lawyers representing the men say they will have to spend some more time in India before they can expect to return home.

They are:

  • Nick Dunn from Ashington, Northumberland
  • Billy Irving from Connel, Argyll
  • Ray Tindall from Chester
  • Paul Towers from Pocklington, East Yorkshire
  • John Armstrong from Wigton, Cumbria
  • Nicholas Simpson from Catterick, North Yorkshire

Their statement said: “After four long years, we, along with the 29 crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, have been cleared by the Appeal Court.

“We want to thank the court for reaching this decision. We are all in good health and eager to return to our families and friends.

“We want to thank our legal counsel, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The Mission to Seafarers for helping us reach this point.

“We have been glad to receive the many messages of support and care packages during our time in prison, and ask for time to reflect on our experience and to prepare for home.”

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The men were working on the anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by the US-based company AdvanFort, when they were arrested in 2013.

They were held along with three Ukrainians, 14 Estonians and 12 Indians when customs officials and police found weapons and ammunition on board, which Indian authorities said had not been properly declared.

In a video to family and friends, Mr Dunn said: “The past is the past. I’m thinking of a new life and a new chapter.

“If I beat myself up everyday thinking of the past I will never be able to move on.

“Yes, I have gone through a traumatic experience, but I can’t dwell on it. I have to go forward. It’s all I can do.”

The six men are in a hotel after being escorted out of Chennai Central Prison by British consulate officials.

A consulate spokesman said: “We are working with the Indian authorities to discuss the next step and we will continue to offer the men and their families consular assistance for as long as needed.”


Source: BBC Yorkshire