Chennai Six Brit soldier arrives back into UK after four-years in Indian prison

A CHENNAI Six Brit soldier said a heartfelt "thank you" to supporters as he landed at Glasgow Airport – after four years locked up in an Indian prison.

Billy Irving, from Argyll and Bute, walked out to bagpipes playing as he arrived home after winning his legal battle over weapons charges.

He told Sky News: "Massive thank you to everyone who supported me and the five others.

"It feels excellent to be home."

The Chennai Six were finally freed from their prison hell on November 28 after the ex-soldiers won an appeal over weapons charges following a Sun campaign.

Billy was hugged in the airport arrivals hall by family members who had made signs reading "Welcome home Billy".

Two pipers placed outside the terminal to welcome the 37-year-old, who had cut his hair and beard since the most recent pictures of him in India last week.
He stopped briefly to speak to reporters and express his thanks to supporters of the campaign for his release.

The others, including Nick Dunn, John Armstrong, Nicholas Simpson, Ray Tindall and Paul Towers, are expected back on Thursday.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said earlier: "It is wonderful news that the men are returning to the UK.
"The Foreign Office has worked unstintingly on this case, lobbying on the men's behalf, visiting them in prison, updating their families, and maintaining close contact with their legal team.
"I pay tribute to those who have campaigned for the men, who will be delighted to see them return home after being separated for so long."

Speaking after his release last week, ex Para Nick Dunn said: “We couldn’t sleep for a single second — I got up at 5am after a completely sleepless night.

“We want to thank everyone in the world who supported us through this really tough time. We are all so grateful that people didn’t lose hope and kept fighting for us. We can never thank them enough.”

The men were held in 2013 after protecting ships from Somali pirates.

Nick, 31, who served in Afghanistan, added: “All I want to do now is go home and see my mum.”

Former Para John Armstrong, 30, smiled and gave a thumbs up as the men left Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai, south eastern India, and were driven away by consular staff.

They were taken to the British Deputy High Commission and later to a four-star hotel in the city.

Ex Para Billy Irving’s partner Yvonne MacHugh said: “Billy called — 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.”” target=”_blank” title=”Click to share on Twitter

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