Former soldier handed a five-year sentence in India for weapons offences


Former soldier handed a five-year sentence in India for weapons offences

Former soldier Nick was handed a five-year jail sentence after being found guilty of weapons offences while working for a US firm protecting ships in pirate-infested waters.

The Afghanistan and Iraq veteran was first arrested when Indian authorities seized their vessel 27 months ago.

Charges filed against Nick, from Ashington, Northumberland , were quashed in 2014 and he was freed from prison.

But police refused to hand back the 29-year-old’s passport and he and his colleagues stood trial.

Earlier this week an Indian judge found the men guilty and jailed Nick for five years – a move Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery branded ‘unreal.’

Now devastated sister Lisa, who has campaigned tirelessly for 27 months to bring her brother home, is planning to fly to India.

She said: “I haven’t seen Nick since February 2014, and my mum, dad and other brother Paul haven’t seen him since September 2013.

“I remember the first time I went over there to see him. I don’t think I will ever forget the stench inside the prison, it was making my eyes water. It was disgusting.

“When I finally saw Nick it took me a few seconds to realise who it was. He looked dishevelled and lost. I just grabbed him, clinging on to him. He smelled like the prison but I didn’t care, I just could not let go.”

Lisa is now hoping to get out in time for Nick’s 30th birthday in March.

She said: “It’s going to be wonderful, it’ll be the best thing ever to see him, but it will be in horrendous circumstances. You’ve got to make the most of that 60 minute visit, and make him forget where he is.

“It’s heartwrenching and now I will do it all again, something I never dreamed I would be doing. I’ve got no choice, Nick needs me now more than ever.

“My brother is a victim, there are no words to express how furious and devastated we are about what has happened. It is a complete and utter miscarriage of justice.

“We feel betrayed by the Indian justice system.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said they could not interfere in another country’s judicial process.

For more information on Nick’s family’s fight to bring him home visit