A sailor detained in India for 21 months says he is ready to fight his final hurdle after being hit with a massive setback in his battle to return home.
Former paratrooper Nick Dunn was left devastated after an Indian court decided that he and 35 other sailors would face a trial over gun charges – leaving him stranded in the country for another six months.
The support we’ve had from the local community is fantasticLisa Dunn
But the 29-year-old, from Ashington, and his family say local support is helping them get through the latest setback.
Friends have set up a funding page to help cover his living costs, while messages of support flood in on the ‘Help Nick Home’ Facebook page.
Nick was released from prison last year after charges against him and the sailors were dropped, and he began fighting to have his possessions and passport returned so he could come home.
However, they were dealt a blow when they were told there would be a fresh trial over charges of illegal possession of weapons while working for American firm AdvanFort, who provide protection to ships from pirate attacks.
Nick was first arrested in October 2013, but his family have been covering his living costs since he was released on bail last March.
His sister Lisa was full of praise for those who had offered financial and emotional support.
Speaking to the News Post Leader, she said: “One of Nick’s friends set up a funding account which is amazing. It’s just awful it’s come to this and people are having to give us money so that Nick can survive.
“The support we’ve had from the local community is fantastic.
“People are angry and frustrated as we are. We are getting words of comfort and support which is incredible, we couldn’t have got through this without that.
“It is helping Nick keep going knowing that he has got this support behind him.
“Nick is ready to fight this last hurdle, we all are. We just need to get on with it.”
Lisa added: “We always thought it would never go to trial but the reality is we’ve got a 50/50 chance of Nick coming home. It’s just horrific but we’re still fighting.
“When Nick found out it was going to trial it was just horrendous, he wouldn’t speak to us.
“But now the dust has settled we’re coming to terms with it and we need to focus on the next six months leading up to the trial.
“Nick feels there is no way they will be sent down as it has already been quashed once and there is no fresh new evidence.
“He is trying to remain positive and optimistic but I’m absolutely terrified.”
To donate to the fund log onto www.gofundme.com/xyet5w