Family’s plea to set Billy free

Billy, Yvonne and baby William during Yvonne's previous visit to India - she did not take him this time because she had too many meetings to attend.
Billy, Yvonne and baby William during Yvonne's previous visit to India - she did not take him this time because she had too many meetings to attend.

The brother of a former UK soldier who has been jailed in India is angry about the lack of support he’s received from the British Government.

Jamie Irving (40) from Bearsden insists that his younger brother Billy (37) is innocent.

He was imprisoned for firearms charges in October 2013, along with five other ex-British soldiers and 29 crew members.

Jamie said: “I am appalled at the lack of support from the country that Billy gave so much to after serving 10 years in the 1st Battalion Parachute regiment- he is indeed still a serving member of 4 Para.

“I also served as a Royal Marine, my older brother Colin is still a serving soldier, and my father was a soldier.

“The fact that my whole immediate family have put their neck on the line for the country and then we ask for help and they hang Billy out to dry makes this harder to swallow.

“It seems to be a trend with the government on how they deal with serving soldiers and veterans at the moment.”

Billy’s family were very concerned about his health because it deteriorated after his first stint in prison due to a lack of food, nourishment and poor hygiene.

He got dysentry twice and had dental problems which the family says were not properly treated by the prison or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Billy’s fiancee Yvonne, from Glasgow, flew out to India last Thursday (January 25).

She was not sure whether she’d be allowed access to Billy but luckily she has been able to see him much to his delight because he didn’t even know she was coming.

Billy’s dad, Jim, said: “The men seemed to be in good health and are pulling together as a group.

“They are happy with their lawyers and I think it will be 3-4 months before anything is ready to be put to court.

“Now they have an end game in sight they are all strong characters and will deal with it in their own ways.

“There is no requirement for them to work, it is their choice, Billy is working in the bakery making cakes and pies.”

Yvonne has gathered 350,000 signatures for a petition to get him freed. Their son is one year old this February and Billy has missed out on seeing him grow up.

Family visits to India are costing thousands of punds just to get there, along with accomodation and travel so the family is also raising money to cover these costs plase visit www.justgiving.com/freesgo6 if you’d like to donate or sign the petition on change.org.

The girls say they were treated very well by the prison staff and spent some time with the Superintendant who was most respectfull to them. All the men are in good health and are pulling together as a group. Now they have an end game in sight they are all strong characters and will deal with it in their own ways. There is no requirement for them to work, it is their choice and I know that Billy is now working in the bakery making cakes and pies!!!, poor guys who have to eat them.Yvonne and Joanne are hoping to get in again tomorrow, I think they will be puting on a short skirt and flutter the eyelashes, I know it works for me. The update on parcel from Billy is don’t send any more as they are very restricted for space to keep things. The men are happy with the lawyers they have and they think it will be 3-4 months before anything is ready to put to court. I will pass on any info as and when I get it Jim Irving (father of William Irving)