Nephew of Blackpool man killed on flight MH17 'hopeful' after three men charged with murder

'He had such a verve for life': Jordan Withers paid tribute to his uncle, Glenn Thomas, who died after a Russian missile shot down flight MH17

The nephew of a man who was on board Malaysia Air Flight 17 when it was shot down by a Russian missile has said his family is “holding onto hope” for justice.

Glenn Thomas, from Blackpool, was among 289 passengers and crew who were killed in 2014.

The 49-year old press officer for the World Health Organisation was one of 10 British victims of the disaster.

His nephew, Jordan Withers, also from Blackpool, spoke to ITV News after a Dutch court found three men guilty of murder for the downing of the flight.

The men were not present in court and remain at large. However, Jordan told ITV News it is a positive step.

"It has been a long time coming, just over eight years since the downing of MH17. We’ve been through phases of this journey.

"Yesterday (Thursday 17th) we finally saw three people convicted. It can only be a positive thing that we’re getting answers and we hold onto hope with that", he said.

Glenn Thomas was a spokesperson for the World Health Organisation and was travelling to a conference when the flight was shot down.

Jordan Withers, nephew of Glenn Thomas, said Thursday's verdict was 'a long time coming'.

A Dutch court gave sentences of life imprisonment to the Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and a Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko.

The court found them guilty of shooting the plane down and of the murder of everyone on board.

The plane was flying above Russian-backed separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.

The three men were ordered to pay more than 16 million euros in compensation to the victims.

Jordan's mother Tracey is the twin sibling of Glenn. Describing the mixed emotions he felt, Jordan said.

"I’ve always wondered what I’d feel like on that day if we had some answers as to who actually had any sort of culpability", he said.

"I always thought I might feel quite happy or celebratory that I finally got some answers but when I was listening to the verdict…I only felt sadness and loss.

"Because ultimately, when you leave that courtroom, the next day you go home, those families who have lost someone are going to be sat at that dinner table and there’s going to be a place for that person missing - whether that be a father, son, mother, daughter, sister, brother.

"Whole families were wiped out."

'All I felt was sadness and loss...': Jordan told us of his mixed emotions when he heard the verdict.

Jordan and his mother have been campaigning for justice along with other bereaved families since 2014.

He said the new ruling is the start of a new phase in their quest for justice.

"Nothing a court can say or do is going to bring that back and obviously I have to come to terms with that personally.

"But I’m glad the truth is out there and I think this is just going to be the start of who’s going to be convicted and hopefully the investigations continue.

Jordan told ITV News that speaking about his uncle is his favourite subject.

"He was such a wonderful person he had such a verve for life.

"We had such a good time…he was just such a nice person. And he’s just been so sorely missed at Christmases, birthdays.

"It just never gets any easier and I just hope that what we’re doing as the victims’ families, paying tribute to people like my uncle, the courage people have shown and the resilience to get answers,

"I hope they’re looking down on us proud of that."