Former British soldier Nick Dunn – one of the so-called Chennai Six – has been united with his family in the UK more than four years after being wrongly jailed in India.
Mr Dunn, from Ashington, Northumberland, touched down at Newcastle Airport at around 11.30 this morning.
He was greeted by his relieved family and dozens of cheering supporters as he walked into the terminal wearing a bright red jacket.
Nick Dunn, from Ashington, touched down at Newcastle Airport at around 11.30 this morning, where he greeted his family
Dozens of cheering supporters were there to greet him as he walked into the terminal wearing a bright red jacket
Speaking to reporters, he said: ‘I’m overwhelmed, staggered, on cloud nine – I’m the happiest man alive’
Mr Dunn said he was going to have a hot bubble bath on Thursday evening and was looking forward to eating steak.
‘Words can’t describe how I feel, I’m on cloud nine and it’s all down to my sister, she’s made this possible,’ he said.
‘I’ve been quite calm, I hadn’t been anticipating being this calm, it wasn’t until I came through the door there that it hit me.
‘After four long years of not being able to see my mum, it’s the best Christmas present I could ever wish for.
‘I want to relax with my family and I think a lovely hot bubble bath is on the cards for tonight. It’s something simple that we all take for granted but I will never take it for granted ever again.
‘For everyone that has campaigned for me, I am overwhelmed. Everyone’s support got me through this dark period of my life.
‘Without them I don’t know where I would be so I really want to thank the British public for their amazing support.’
Mr Dunn said getting back to see his mother Margaret had been his priority. She was at the airport along with his sister Lisa, brother Paul and father Jim.
‘Seeing them felt amazing, it felt like my heart had melted,’ he said.
‘So much is down to my amazing sister. She kept me going for four years, writing in her letters keep going, keep going, keep going.
‘It’s four Christmases rolled into one, I have missed four of them so I am going to have the best Christmas ever.
‘I would always visualise walking through those doors but today is nothing like that at all. I’m just overwhelmed, ecstatic, I’m the happiest man alive.’
Mr Dunn, one of the so-called Chennai Six, was jailed in India for weapons charges, which have since been dismissed
It follows the arrival of Billy Irving on Wednesday, who was the first of the Chennai Six to land back in the UK when he arrived at Glasgow Airport
It follows the arrival of Billy Irving on Wednesday, who was the first of the Chennai Six to land back in the UK when he arrived at Glasgow Airport.
After being greeted by family he spoke briefly to reporters, saying: ‘It feels excellent to be home.’
Mr Dunn and Mr Irving, along with four other British men, had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, but were jailed in October 2013 after being charged with carrying unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
After years of campaigning, they won an appeal against their convictions last week and were given permission to leave India.
The other men – John Armstrong, Nicholas Simpson, Ray Tindall and Paul Towers – are also expected to arrive in the UK on Thursday.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson previously said: ‘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.’
Who are the Chennai six?
The six British men had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean but were jailed in October 2013 after being charged with carrying unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
Indian authorities said their weapons had not been properly declared. The group has always denied the charges, which were initially quashed but later reinstated.
They were sentenced to five years in 2016 and were being held in the prison in Chennai, formerly known as Madras. After an appeal, all charges were dropped.
The other men are Nick Dunn, 31, of Ashington, 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.
After years of campaigning, they won an appeal against their convictions last week and were allowed to leave India.