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'Chennai six' found not guilty, according to supporters

Paul Towers and Ray Tindall Photo:

Two men from the North West, who were jailed in India in 2013 on weapons charges, have been found not guilty, according to supporters on a social networking page.

Paul Towers, 54, from Bootle and Ray Tindall, 42, from Chester, are part of the so-called Chennai Six who were jailed while working as security guards on ships to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

All 35 men who were arrested have been cleared and the Facebook post said families were "understandably delighted" at the news.

They will now wait to see when they will be allowed home from India to their families.

The post said:

The Appeal Court has today found all 35 men NOT GUILTY we now wait to hear as and when the men will be allowed home to their families.

"This may take some time whilst the authorities decide whether they agree with the outcome or wish to appeal.

"If they wish to appeal the men might be released from prison but not allowed back to the UK.

"But the families are understandable delighted that finally common sense and justice has prevailed."

– Supporters post, Facebook

The men are Billy Irving, 37, from Argyll and Bute, Nick Dunn, 31, of 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 but originally from Bootle.

Yvonne McHugh, partner of Billy Irvine, told the Press Association she was "over the moon" the men had been acquitted.

She added: "They've all been acquitted, all 35 of them. We are just waiting to hear how soon they'll be home.

"That's the biggest hurdle we faced and all of them have been acquitted."

Although the men have been cleared, Ms McHugh said she would be unable to speak to Mr Irvine as he is not yet out of prison and does not have a phone.

She said: "I won't be able to speak to him until he's out of prison, we just want them home as soon as possible.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic and feel proud we've managed to do this after four years."

Yvonne McHugh, partner of Billy Irving, told the Press Association she was "over the moon" the men had been acquitted.

She added: "They've all been acquitted, all 35 of them. We are just waiting to hear how soon they'll be home.

"That's the biggest hurdle we faced and all of them have been acquitted."

Although the men have been cleared, Ms McHugh said she would be unable to speak to Mr Irving as he is not yet out of prison and does not have a phone.

She said: "I won't be able to speak to him until he's out of prison, we just want them home as soon as possible.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic and feel proud we've managed to do this after four years."

Theresa May's official spokesman said: "The Government, from the Prime Minister down, has worked hard for over four years to support the men and their families and we share their happiness at the court's decision to give a full acquittal to each of the men.

"We are now working with the Indian authorities to discuss the next steps. We will continue to offer the men and their families consular assistance for as long as it is needed."