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Family of imprisoned Wigton man spend fourth Christmas apart


The family of a man from Cumbria who was arrested and detained in India are facing a fourth Christmas without him.

John Armstrong, from Wigton, is one of six former British soldiers arrested on a ship in Indian waters in 2013. All were accused of weapons offences.

John's sister, Joanne Thomlinson, says it never gets any easier.

"We're going to try our best to celebrate but there's a huge space where John should be. They're not allowed to make any phone calls from the prison so it's only letter's we're receiving. Communication is really poor. We'll not hear anything more until January though because the courts have closed now."

– Joanne Thomlinson

Below is a timeline of events after their arrests in 2013.

  • Initially they were detained without trial.
  • All the charges were dropped in 2014, but the prosecution appealed
  • A court sentenced all six to five years in prison at the start of this year
  • The men have always maintained that they are innocent.

John's sister says the support the men receive keeps their spirits up.

"All of the support has been incredible. Not just for myself and the family but for all of the men. It can be such a lonely experience for them so every letter, Christmas message etc is all appreciated."

– Joanne Thomlinson

Joanne popped into the ITV Border office to have a picture taken with our Correspondent Tim Backshall. She said John was a big fan of Lookaround and he would enjoy seeing the photo in the new year.


WATCH: Attracting Americans to the Scottish Borders

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A new video showcasing the best of the Scottish Borders has been created by Visit Scotland.

It's part of a three-year campaign to market the Borders Railway internationally, and put the new 100-mile track on the map.

This video is specifically geared towards attracting more visitors from the United States.

At Visit Scotland we've identified the US market as our biggest single market. We're doing the video to attract people to show them the stunning scenery that's available in the Borders and some of the attractions across the region."

– Doug Wilson, Regional Director Visit Scotland


Council to make decision on re-settling refugees

Councillors will decide today. Credit: PA

Plans to re-settle 285 refugees in Cumbria will be considered today by the County Council.

The cabinet will be asked to approve proposals to re-settle the refugees, over a period of three years between 2017 and 2020.

Original plans were delayed because of the floods that swept through the county in December 2015.


Key Lockerbie bombing witness dies

Tony Gauci Credit: PA

A key witness whose evidence helped to secure the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi over the Lockerbie bombing has died, according to the Times of Malta.

Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci died of natural causes at his home at the age of 75.

Mr Gauci ran a clothes shop in Malta, at the time of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and claimed that Megrahi bought a piece of clothing found among the debris of the aircraft.

His evidence helped to secure the 2001 conviction of Libyan Megrahi for the atrocity in which 270 people died.

Pan Am 103 Credit: PA

Some doubts were subsequently raised about Mr Gauci's reliability.

Megrahi was the only person to have been convicted of the bombing on December 21 1988.

In his last interview, Megrahi insisted he had "never seen" Mr Gauci and had not bought clothes from him.

Man arrested after serious assault in Kelso

Police Scotland Credit: PA

A 23-year-old man has been arrested and charged following a serious assault in Kelso.

Police Scotland confirmed a 27-year-old man suffered serious facial injuries as a result of an incident which took place in The Square around 12.30am on Sunday 30th October.

He was taken to Border General Hospital for treatment.

The 23-year-old is due to appear at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Monday 31st October.

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