Connel man Billy back home at last

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Billy Irving landed in Glasgow Airport this morning after being freed from an Indian prison last week.

The Connel man was found not guilty of firearms offences last Monday, after being being sentenced to five years in jail in January 2016.

Billy and five other British ex-servicemen, known as the Chennai Six, have been fighting the firearms charges for the past four years.

The former paratrooper was working as an armed guard protecting shipping from Somali pirates when he and 34 of his colleagues were arrested in 2013.

They were initially found not guilty of straying into Indian waters with ‘unlicensed weapons’. However, after a lower court appealed the decision, the men were jailed. But after a long appeal process they were acquitted last week.

Bring Billy Back wrote on Facebook yesterday (Wednesday) morning: ‘Billy is finally on a plane home.

‘After over four long excruciating years we can breathe a sigh of relief that Billy will soon be home with his family and friends.

‘We would like to thank everyone for your support over the past four years.

‘We cannot stress enough how much it has helped in the fight to bring Billy back and we would have been at a loss without all our family, friends and supporters worldwide.

‘We’d like to thank the legal team, the charities who supported us especially the Mission to Seafarers, the #Chennai6 campaign team who have just been incredible, our MPs and the media who helped with our fight for freedom.

‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.’