A former British soldier held in an Indian jail for four years has described seeing his “mam” as the best Christmas present “ever” after returning home.
Nick Dunn was one of six Britons working as security guards who were detained in 2013 on weapons charges in Chennai, south India.
After arriving back in the UK on Thursday, he said: “Four long years of not being able to see me mam, it’s the best Christmas present I could ever wish for.
“Every day for the past two years while I’ve been in prison I wanted nothing but this moment. And I’m really really happy.”
When asked what he was going to do now, he said: “I’m going to really relax with me family – a lovely hot bubble bath is on the cards for tonight. It’s something simple that we all take for granted.
“Everyone who’s campaigned for me, I’m overwhelmed, it’s support basically that’s got me through this dark period of my life.
“Without them, I don’t know where I would have been, so I really, really thank the British public for their support.”
Describing his ordeal, Mr Dunn, from Northumberland, said: “When you are waiting and waiting and waiting for a decision and you start thinking, it’s never going to end.
“But once the case started up again, the end game is in sight. And when we got told the decision would be on the 27th (November), I knew deep down in my heart that I would be home for Christmas. And I am, home for Christmas.”
The men, known as the Chennai Six, were jailed in October 2013 while working as security guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.
Indian authorities were said to have found 35 guns and almost 6,000 rounds of ammunition, which they claimed had not been properly declared.
But after a four-year legal battle, the men – who have consistently denied the charges – were found not guilty by India’s Appeal Court.
The detained men were Mr Dunn, 31, Billy Irving, 37, John Armstrong, 30, Nicholas Simpson, 47, Ray Tindall, 42, and Paul Towers, 54.
They were among 35 men arrested while working aboard the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, a vessel owned by a US company offering armed protection services to ships travelling between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
The charges were overturned when the men showed papers for the weapons had been issued by the British government and that they were lawfully held for anti-piracy security.
However, a lower court in India reinstated the charges against the men, leading to their conviction in January 2016, when they were sentenced to five years.