Free af­ter four years - thanks to her...

The Chronicle - - Front Page - By MICHAEL MUNCASTER Re­porter [email protected]­i­tymir­ @MichaelMjourno

NICK Dunn re­turned home to a hero’s wel­come af­ter he was ac­quit­ted of weapon charges in In­dia.

For­mer para­trooper Nick landed at New­cas­tle Air­port at around 11.20am yes­ter­day, re­turn­ing to Bri­tish soil for the first time in four years.

He is one of six for­mer Bri­tish sol­diers, known as the Chen­nai Six, who were re­leased from an Indian prison last week af­ter a lengthy le­gal bat­tle.

Nick, of Ash­ing­ton, Northum­ber­land, broke down in tears as he em­braced his fam­ily, who were wait­ing for him in the air­port.

He was also greeted by friends hold­ing a ban­ner and bal­loons, who gave Nick a huge cheer as he walked through the lobby.

Sur­rounded by his fam­ily, Nick said he was look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a hot bub­ble bath and eat­ing a 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.” Nick, 31, said he wanted to thank ev­ery­one who sup­ported the six men dur­ing their time in In­dia. He added: “For ev­ery­one who 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.”

Nick and the five other men were part of an anti-piracy crew ar­rested on a ship in the Indian Ocean in 2013.

The Indian Coast­guard boarded their ship, the MV Sean Guard Ohio, and ar­rested them for tak­ing weapons into In­dia’s wa­ters.

The charges were quashed

Words can’t de­scribe how I feel. I’m on cloud nine and it’s all down to my sister. She’s made it pos­si­ble Nick Dunn

when the men showed their UK pa­per­work and ar­gued they were car­ry­ing the weapons for anti-piracy pur­poses.

But a lower court re­in­stated the charges and the for­mer sol­diers were sen­tenced to five years in jail in Jan­uary last year.

Af­ter launch­ing a se­ries of ap­peals, the men were fi­nally ac­quit­ted last week and had their sen­tences over­turned.

The other men – Billy Irv­ing, John Arm­strong, Ni­cholas Simp­son, Ray Tin­dall and Paul Tow­ers – have also been given per­mis­sion to leave In­dia.

Nick Dunn greets mum Mar­garet at New­cas­tle In­ter­na­tional Air­port af­ter be­ing re­leased from an In­dian prison Nick with sis­ter Lisa

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